Munda and Gwaunaru’u airports near completion: Agovaka

By Gary Hatigeva

THE level of works carried out on the developments of Gwaunaru’u and Munda airports have both gone past 90 percent completion, and are now finalising, Minister of Civil Aviation and Communication, Peter Shannel Agovaka told parliament.

The Central Guadalcanal Member of Parliament and Minister of Aviation revealed this when questioned over the status of both development projects in parliament yesterday.

During a Question and Answer session, Opposition Leader and Member of Parliament for East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga, who was also joined by the Bills and Legislation Committee and MP for Aoke/Langalanga, Matthew Wale both raised questions surrounding the nature of work on the projects.

Minister Agovaka first explained that in terms of the work contracted and carried out in Gwaunaru’u, 99 percent of the work contracted has completed.

He said the slight issue was that the contractor could not complete the remaining percentage of work, and this was because the people of the communities around the airport wanted an access road built around the airport and for a water supply to be provided for the surrounding communities.

“This is unfortunately out of our hands as it is not factored in our budget and contract, but we are working on an amicable agreement with the communities to be able to have Dash 8 flights operational by September 2018,” the minister added.

Munda airport development on the other hand, the minister told parliament that they have completed the fencing project, with set up of navigation aids at 95 percent completion rate.

He further added that in this project, the issue of land was a major stumbling block, but assured the house that the issues were resolved on July 27.

He however pointed out that there are a few outstanding five percent of the works left, which the government is anticipating for them to be completed by mid-August.

Meanwhile, parliament was told that because of its earmarked status to international, it was of paramount importance that the Munda infrastructure meets international aviation standards and of course that of the Civil Aviation of Solomon Islands (CASI) before it can host international flights as proposed in the government’s policy.

And as part of meeting the standards, the Munda project also received two fire engines donated by the New Zealand government and have been successfully shifted to what has been described as, an alternative international airport.

Also comes as part of wanting to meet the highlighted standards, the Aviation Minister told parliament that a training is also in the loop for seven new Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighter personnel.

With the proposition over Munda airport, a scheduled inaugural flight by Solomon Airlines to Munda will be made after the certification by CASI, which was revealed to be around September.

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