AIRPORT UPGRADES CONTINUE DESPITE COVID-19 CHALLENGES

Regardless of the negative impacts of covid-19 on the country this year, the National Government continues work to upgrade and rehabilitate various aviation infrastructures around the country with support from development partners.

Already, the National Government has injected SB$21 million as part of its commitment to upgrade various runways and airstrips in partnership with the Government of New Zealand.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced these ongoing projects in his weekly national address Monday this week.

He said design and procurement works for Seghe airport in the Western Province and Taro airport in Choiseul Province are expected to complete by the end of this year.

Assessment of potential new runways and upgrade of pavements and terminals to priority provincial airports are also on- going, with site visits already taken to Avuavu, Babanakira, Yandina and Barakoma.

The Avuavu and Babanakira airports were closed and remained unused from around 1998.

For the country’s second International Airport at Munda, design for the overlay to runway, a new terminal and a new tower has also been completed.

For the Honiara International Airport, the targets for this year include, building a new taxiway and repairing the old one, building the new departure terminal, expand and repair the airport apron and refurbishment of the current international terminal, in which two thirds will be the repair of the domestic terminal. The Government of Japan is funding this project.

Arrangement is also underway to bring in Japanese engineers this month for the Honiara International airport project.

The upgrading of the Honiara International Airport is expected to complete ahead of the Pacific Games in 2023.