Japan unveils plan for new airport terminal in Solomon Islands

Foreign Minister Milner Tozaka and JICA representative Takashi Toyama at the signing on Friday.

HONIARA, 19 JUNE 2018 (SOLOMON STAR) — Japan will construct a new international departure terminal building for the country.

The existing one will be upgraded to cater for both domestic and international arrivals.

Japan unveiled the plan in Honiara during the signing of the Grant Agreement for the improvement of the Honiara International Airport project.

The airport upgrading project, which is expected to start early next year, will cost four billion three hundred and sixty-four million Japanese Yen (4,364,000,000) or around SBD$290 million.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Takashi Toyama said if construction work starts early next year, it should take around 31 months to complete.

Toyama said this new terminal arrangement is expected to boost the convenience of passengers between international and domestic terminal and to contribute to the growth of the tourism industry.

“Expansion and rehabilitation of the terminal buildings will be the first component under this project,” Toyama said.

“The second component includes provision of various special equipment and facilities necessary for the improvement of airport operation and safety,” he explained.

“The third component covers civil work. In this, the current aprons will be equipped with four spots of international aircrafts and six spots of domestic.”

Furthermore, Taoyama said a new taxiway is also to be constructed while the current taxiway is renovated.

“The improved airport will have two taxiways and will realise the smoother traffic in the airport, in which two taxiways are separately allocated to inbound and outbound aircrafts.

“As a result we expect a drastic reduction in the waiting time of taxiway evacuation,” Toyama explained.

To ensure land is available for this major development, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Communication and Aviation Moses Virivolomo said they are planning to take back all the land around the airport that the ministry owns.

Meanwhile, Toyama said to ensure the timely implementation of the project, the Solomon Islands government must actively played its facilitative role.

He said their main concern would be the selection of a quarry site and contract for crushed stone production.

He added the disposal of unexplode World War II bombs is also a critical condition for launching the project.

“We hope both sides will work closely and cooperatively to ensure the new renovated airport is ready before the Pacific Games in 2023,” Toyama said.

The current airport terminal and taxiway were also funded by Japan.