Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Walter Schnaubelt recently announced officially the appointment of Ms. Maryanne J. Wal as the new Chief Commissioner of the PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) on Friday 02nd February 2024.
“As the Transport and Civil Aviation Minister, responsible for the PNG Accident Investigation Commission, I take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Wal on her appointment as the new Chief Commissioner of the Commission,” said Schnaubelt.
By notice in the National Gazette No. G33, on January 19, 2024 her appointment by the Head of State became effective.
The office had been held in an acting capacity by Deputy Chairman Aria Bouraga since March, 2022.
The Board of Commissioners along with Chief Commissioner performs a vital high-level role of overseeing the strategic development and progress of the AIC.
It is a big statement which is an inspiration to so many Papua New Guinean women, as Ms. Wal’s appointment declares her the first female Chief Commissioner.
“She possesses significant experience as a lawyer and her impressive resume fits the requirements to be appointed into the role,” said Schnaubelt.
Minister Schnaubelt said PNG performed outstandingly in aircraft accident investigation during the last ICAO Audit in June of 2023 despite funding challenges impacting the organization’s ability to carry out its vital day-to-day functions and activities consistently and effectively.
“As the Minister responsible, I am confident in Ms. Wal’s addition to the important leadership will only further enhance and improve the AIC’s progress and strategic development and help solve some of the issues the AIC has been facing.”
Mr. Schnaubelt reiterated that the transport sector is about expanding AIC’s mandate from aviation to maritime and eventually to roads aiming for safer skies, seas, and roads.
“It is time to expand and distribute the AIC functions from aviation to maritime safety investigations to improve international maritime safety.”
“PNG’s land transport safety would also significantly benefit from the AIC specialties.”
“I look forward to centralizing transport safety investigation functions into one specialized organization. “
“I have no doubt that Ms. Wal and her team of commissioners, the CEO and the AIC will get PNG to that point, and I stand ready to support with what is needed to achieve this goal,” Schnaubelt said.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Commissioner thanked Minister Schnaubelt for the expression of confidence in appointing her as the Chief Commissioner of the PNG Accident Investigation Commission.
“I am grateful and honored with the responsibility you have entrusted to me and I will do my utmost to honor that trust,” said Chief Commissioner Wal.