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    Kieta Airfield (Aropa) Bougainville Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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RNZAF 1944

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David Paulley 1982

Location
Kieta Airfield is located south of Kieta and the Aropa River, parallel the eastern coast of Bougainville. Also known as "Aropa Airport".

Construction
Built prewar as a single grass runway.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
Occupied by the Japanese without resistance on March 31, 1942. A reconnaissance was made of the runway at this location on June 19, 1942, measuring the runway as 800 x 80 meters.

The staff officers responsible for the 25th Air Flotilla and the 8th Base Force, and the commander of the 14th Establishment Unit over flew Kieta Airfield in a flying boat on July 8, 1942. As a result of this reconnaissance, the commander of the 25th Air Flotilla sent a report outlining his conclusions to the Airbase Force Command.

They deemed expansion of the airfield would not be completed until early September, after the Japanese airfield under construction at Lunga Point Airfield [Henderson Field], making the effort to construct it negatable. Plus, the airfield was not able to be expanded, suffered drainage problems and had obstructions at the end of the runway.

Although neglected by the Japanese, Kieta Airfield was neutralized by the Allies by aerial attacks during the middle of 1943 until middle 1944. On a 1945 survey map, the airfield was listed as 'destroyed'.

Allied missions against Kieta
January 21, 1943 - June 14, 1944

Postwar
After the war, the airfield was used as one of Bougainville Province's main airports, known as "Kieta Airport" or "Aropa Airport". Airport Code: KIE.

Today
After the "Bougainville Crisis", this airfield was repaired by 1999 and used by the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG). Today, this airfield is disused, overgrown and much of the airport infrastructure was destroyed.

References
Japanese army operations in the South Pacific area: New Britain and Papua campaigns, 1942–43 page 124-125.

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

 

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