Gov’t focuses attention on nation-wide airport improvement projects

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Prime Minister Rick Hou and officials at the re-opened Parasi airport in South Malaita. Photo from GCU.

THE Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) is focusing attention on airport improvements around the country as part and parcel of the country’s National Development Strategy 2016-2035.

To support this objective, the Ministry of Communication and Civil Aviation has already began the implementation of the SIDCCG’s policy to ‘Facilitate Rehabilitation and Development of International and Domestic Airports throughout Solomon Islands’.

The Supervising Minister for Communication and Aviation (MCA), Jerry Manele, who is also the Minister for Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) has announced these developments Monday this week at the re-opening of the Parasi Airport in South Malaita.

Mr Manele highlighted that the successful re-opening of the Parasi and Mana’oba airports to facilitate air transport services were examples of the Ministry’s implementation programmes.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation takes this redirection seriously and want to learn from our past mistakes, and build on our current successes, as we move into to the future,” Manele said.

He added that the Ministry is focused on delivering on its sector flagship policies of providing better access and connecting people through air transport services.

The Minister has also highlighted a number of ongoing projects which the Ministry will implement in partnership with development partners such as JICA, the World Bank and the New Zealand Government.

These includes the Honiara International Airport Improvement Project to be co-financed by JICA and Solomon Islands Government which is expected to deliver a new Departure Terminal, an additional new taxi-way, a new Control Tower, the Expansion of Apron to the east end of the airport and the refurbishment to the International Terminal of which three-quarters will become the Domestic Terminal. The project will start in 2019 and is expected to be delivered by the end of 2021.

Another project is the Solomon Islands Road and Aviation Project to be funded by a World Bank grant and part credit by the Solomon Islands Government.

This project will be co-implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) and the Ministry of Communication and Aviation which will deliver an Overlay for the Honiara International Airport Runway, an Overlay for the Munda International Airport Runway, the Munda Terminal and Traffic Tower, an Unexploded Ordinance clearance programme, Navigation and lightning improvements and a Honiara Fire Station. The implementation of these projects will start in 2019 and is expected to be delivered by 2022.

The SIDCC Government is also partnering with the New Zealand Government to co-finance the design of Lata, Seghe, Suavanao and Taro airports to meet all weather operation standards. These projects are expected to start in 2019 and will be delivered in 2021.

Another development announced by Minister Manele was the improvement of pavement reworks for Gwaunaru and Parasi airports to cater for DASH 8 operations which was already completed while Kirakira and Lata airports will follow soon.

–GCU

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