SICCI reaffirms support towards airport projects

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THE Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) reaffirms its support towards the Government’s proposed plans to develop existing airports including supporting infrastructure around the country.

At the same time SICCI urges the Solomon Islands Government to remain committed in seeing these projects come to fruition as it will link people and markets, create more economic activities and eventually lead to growth in outer parts of the country.

Prime Minister Hon Rick Hou officially re-opened the Parasi airport in the Southern region of Malaita Province last week accompanied by the Acting Minister for Communication and Aviation, Hon Jeremiah Manele who used the occasion to outline some of the airport development projects the ministry plans to implement in the next couple of years.

Once successfully completed, SICCI is of the view that these projects will open the door for investment and businesses not only in the capital Honiara, but throughout our provinces. It will also link us to our people in the rural communities.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dennis Meone said improved infrastructure and reliable means of transportation creates a good environment for businesses to prosper and welcomes the proposed airport development projects.

“The transport sector is an important element of the economy and a conduit for development. Our islands are geographically spread and remote and it will always be an issue to reach outer parts of the country but the airport projects will provide alternative means of travel. This is great news for the country and we acknowledge the government for taking lead and our donor community in making it a reality.

“I fully concur with the statement made by the Prime Minister last week that there is a need to enhance infrastructure development to connect other sectors such as tourism, medical, commerce, education and maritime,” Mr Meone said.

The CEO further applaud the work of the Airport Taskforce setup under the Ministry for Communication and Aviation for their tireless efforts in leading negotiations and the landowning groups for having foresight to visualize and look beyond today and opening up their land for airport operations to resume.

Under the Provincial Airport Upgrade, the New Zealand and the Solomon Islands Governments will design new airports for Lata, Temotu Province; Seghe, Western Province; Suavanao, Isabel Province; and Taro, Choiseul Province.

There is also the Honiara International Airport Improvement Project, funded by JICA and co-financed by SIG which will deliver, a new Departure Terminal, an additional new taxi-way, a new Control Tower, the expansion of Apron to the east and refurbishment to the International Terminal.