Airport project to engage up to 100 local workers

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Prime Minister Sogavare flanked by local and overseas workers during his site visit on Friday 16 April
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THE construction phase of the Honiara International Airport expansion project is employing 100 local workers alongside forty overseas supervisors.

The local workers will further benefit from skills and knowledge transfer from the ongoing collaboration with expat workers during and after the project, which will be a bonus for the country.

The Government of Japan funds the multi-million dollar project through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is implemented by the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA), Gyros and Kitano Construction Corporation.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was impressed with the construction progress so far when he visited the site on Friday 16 April.

Regardless of the difficulties created by covid-19 in 2020, activities including the management and procurement processes at the site continued with the recent return of Japanese supervisors to Honiara to restart their duties.

The main components of the project include construction of a new international departure terminal, construction of a new taxiway and apron, refurbishment of existing infrastructure and installation of new flood control mechanisms and lighting.

Construction work is expected to complete prior to the start of the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara.

Last week, the Government of Japan has formalized a further SB$26.5 million for the project to fill the financial gap created by the delay in construction from November 2019 to the end of last year due to covid-19 constraints.

Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Morimoto Yasuhiro said Honiara International Airport is a historical site and very special to Japanese.

“However, it is not the reason but the Government of Japan has engaged in the development of the airport in the past and will continue to collaborate with the Solomon Islands Government to improve this historical and very important infrastructure which contributes to improve airport safety and to accommodate future aviation demands,” he said.

The project, according to Mr Yasuhiro, will have direct impact on the development of Solomon Islands through enhanced connectivity within the country, region and the world.

The Japanese Envoy is confident that the infrastructure will allow the Honiara International Airport to become a competitive airport in the region based on its location and upgraded status with new facilities.

“I am confident that this project will be delivered well ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games and with the improvements, Solomon Islands will be able to manage the increased arrivals and departures during the games,” Yasuhiro said.

The project now costs an estimated $347 million including the additional $26.5 million Japan announced last week.

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