PS Virivolomo says country’s population is too small for bigger airport
The country’s current population is too small to demand a bigger airport.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation, Moses Virivolomo made the statement following concerns raised by the public on the capacity of the current International Airports infrastructures.
“Some people are saying the airport is too small compared to other Pacific Island Countries. Well, we are too small to have a big terminal. Even if we have a bigger terminal you have to maintain it, you have to run it, it is a very expensive infrastructure to manage.”
“I saw some pictures comparing an airport at Kavieng in Papua New Guinea to our international airport. They have 12 million people; we don’t even have 1 million. So, to pay for those infrastructures they loan it while we depend on grants, and whatever grants we receive we try to manage it with what we have,” Virimolo said.
Mr. Virivolomoa also stated that studies conducted to assess the airport’s capacity found it is yet to reach its maximum capacity.
He adds, if we want bigger airports, we will need money for it.
“But at the moment, others are building these infrastructures for us. We will slowly develop our infrastructures. With the Pacific Games, it is up to us to manage the arrival terminal for the volume of people coming in for that one month. And after that it will be back to normal.”
The government of Japan is currently funding the Honiara International Airport Improvement Project.
This includes the construction of a new departure terminal, new taxiway and apron, repair and refurbishment of existing infrastructure such as the current international airport for the new domestic airport, the installation of new flood control mechanisms, and lighting.
The total cost of the airport project is expected to reach USD 39 million once completed.
By Eliza Kukutu