During a visit to the newly-upgraded Munda Airport the World Bank’s Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Stephen Ndegwa, said the Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP) represented an important milestone in the development of Solomon Islands’ Western Province.
Mr. Ndegwa was joined by fellow World Bank staff, including World Bank’s Resident Representative for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Annette Leith, together with teams from Solomon Islands Airport Corporation Limited (SIACL) and others.
The project has delivered a new international and domestic terminal building, along with upgrades to the 2,100-meter-long runway, and enhancements to the resilience of the runway, taxiway and apron.
The works, building on earlier New Zealand-funded works between 2014 and 2018, will deliver a gateway for international flights direct to Western Province, opening up immense opportunities for tourism, trade and business, as well as providing an alternative emergency international airport for Honiara.
“This project speaks to the immense tourism potential of Western Province, which is a truly spectacular part of the Pacific,” said Mr. Ndegwa.
“This upgrade to Munda’s gateway is a major step towards Solomon Islands capturing a greater share of the global tourism market and is a project that we’ve been very proud to support.
“A sincere congratulations to the national and provincial governments for their commitment to this project, and to the people of Western Province for driving it forward. We are look forward to continuing our support across the country through SIRAP,” he added.
The upgrade of the Munda International Airport Runway is one part of the two phases of the SB$1.1 billion SIRAP and the Second Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP2), funded by the World Bank. SIRAP and SIRAP2 are delivering safer, more efficient and resilient airports, roads and bridges across Solomon Islands.
Other investments under SIRAP and SIRAP2 include upgrades to the runways at Honiara International Airport and Santa Cruz (Lata) Airfield, air traffic control towers at Honiara and Munda International Airports, air navigation systems in Makira-Ulawa and Temotu Provinces, together with funding for regional airport maintenance. SIRAP and SIRAP2 works also include construction of seven new bridges (Koa, Bio1, Bio2, Kolofe1, Kolofe2, Su’u Harbor, and Bira Bridges) in Malaita, and upgrading the town roads in Noro, Western Province.
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