Air travel comes at a cost. Operating airplanes and helicopters is an expensive business. Each ﬂight is not cheap. Planes are costly; helicopters even more so. In Papua New Guinea, we make every eﬀort not to charge our people too much to move them where they need to go.
One option that enables us to reduce the cost to our people is to fly commercial jobs. Often local people, companies, or organizations hire our aircraft to do a variety of jobs: move coﬀee and other produce to market, repatriate people who have died to their villages of birth, move technicians to and from mobile phone towers, supply remote clinics with medicine, count crocodile nests, move water tanks and pipes for water projects, and more.
The proceeds from these diﬀerent jobs are applied directly back into the work of getting the Word of God into the lives of PNG people groups. A Flight Subsidy program funnels much of the money made through commercial flights into a fund available to our people when they ﬂy, enabling them to aﬀord the expensive ﬂights. If we did not do this commercial work, the cost of a helicopter flight, especially, would be prohibitive.
Some of our translators and Scripture-use workers need to travel from Ukarumpa, an international community that is the center for Bible translation in PNG, to helicopter-only locations that are more than a three-hour ﬂight—one way. Their one trip to and from a village, if not subsidized, would cost $5,000–6,000!
We’re thankful for the openings God gives to help these local communities. And thankful that these opportunities then enable us to help those who are doing Bible translation work.
Please pray for us pilots. We love our work and the people we serve! But ﬂying in PNG is full of complicated and challenging decisions and circumstances.