New Zealand High Commission Honiara, Solomon Islands

Upgraded Nusatupe Airport Reopened

Ribbon Cutting (L to R) Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister Clay Forau, Acting NZ High Commissioner Sarah Wong, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and Premier of Western Province George Lilo

On Friday 27th September Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Sarah Wong and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo opened the newly rehabilitated Nusatupe Runway in Western Province.

The Nusatupe opening brings to a close Phase I of the New Zealand-funded ‘Munda package’ of critical transport infrastructure projects in Western Province of Solomon Islands.  This has involved the rehabilitation of Munda runway and the Noro-Munda road (both opened by Minister McCully during the Pacific Mission in August) and now the Nusatupe runway, which services Gizo the tourism hub of Western Province and Solomon Islands.

The works in Western Province (total funding envelope NZ$25 million) have been a major engagement for New Zealand, and are a cornerstone of the Solomon Islands-New Zealand Joint Commitment for Development.  Support to transport infrastructure is critical for supporting sustainable economic growth in Solomon Islands.  The work has created two much safer and reliable key runways, and reduced road travel times between Munda and the regional fishing hub of Noro from an hour to under 20 minutes.  The tourism and fisheries sectors are expected to benefit particularly.

The resealed Munda runway has been lengthened from 1400 to 1800 metres and widened from 15 to 30 metres, large enough to land B737s and A320s once certification as an international alternate runway (Phase II) is achieved.  Certification at Munda will significantly benefit passengers and airlines servicing Honiara with reduced emergency fuel loads from a much closer alternate runway than those in Vanuatu, PNG and Australia.  Phase II of the ‘Munda Package’ also includes reform of airport management in Solomon Islands.

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