The plan was unveiled Friday during the signing of the Grant Agreement for the Improvement of the Honiara International Airport Project.
Under the project, the existing terminal building will be upgraded to cater for both domestic and international arrivals.
The project is estimated to cost more than 4 billion Yen or around $290 million.
Work is scheduled to start early next year, and according to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Takashi Toyama, it should take around 31 months to complete the project.
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.
It’s just not the terminal building that will be upgraded.
The project will also cater for various special equipment and facilities necessary for the improvement of airport operation and safety.
The current aprons will be upgraded and equipped with four spots of international aircrafts and six spots of domestic.”
Furthermore, a new taxiway is also to be constructed while the existing one will be renovated.
This is a huge project and one that will transform Honiara International Airport when it’s completed.
In fact this project should be completed in time for the Pacific Games, scheduled to be held in Honiara in 2023.
This is not the first time Japan has offered to fund an infrastructure project of this magnitude.
The current multi-million dollar Kukum Highway Upgrading Project was also Japan-funded.
In fact the existing Honiara International Airport is a Japanese funded project.
What they are doing now is simply upgrading a project they funded and built some 20 years ago.
It is infrastructure projects like this that Solomon Islanders will be ever thankful for.
No wonder Foreign Affairs minister Milner Tozaka spoke highly of Japan.
Japan, Tozaka says, remains the leading development partner in infrastructure development in Solomon Islands.
This airport project, the minister added, is yet another of Japan’s success stories towards Solomon Islands infrastructure and economic development.
This project however, will not start as scheduled unless the national government plays its facilitative role in an effective and timely manner.
On Friday, JICA’s Toyama expressed some concern on this.
He said their main concern would be the selection of a quarry site and contract for crushed stone production.
These are relevant issues the government must address to ensure the timely implementation of the project.
To Japan, we say thanks for being a genuine development partner.