MUNDA International airport in the Western Province can host large aircrafts carrying a capacity of 100 passengers when complete.
Ministry of Communication and Aviation permanent secretary, Francis Lomo revealed this after handing over $1.2 million to Voramali landowners in Honiara on Tuesday.
The goodwill payment was to allow the New Zealand contractor to commence phase two of the project, which included erecting a perimeter fence; installing of runway lights and navigational aids and service facilities such as fire trucks and buildings.
Mr Lomo said the length of Munda airport is 1,800 meters and needs an additional 400 meters before it can host bigger planes like airbuses.
He said medium aircrafts with a capacity of 100 seats, such as those operating domestically in Papua New Guinea, are able to be accommodated by the airport.
“Munda airport is an alternative to Honiara International airport that can host large medium aircrafts when complete,” he said.
Mr Lomo said the government sees the importance of getting the airport operational because of the economic impact it will have on the country’s economy through tourism and fisheries.
“In the future, some international flights from Australia, New Caledonia or PNG might fly direct to Munda.
“Also, it will allow cargo planes to uplift fish products from the cannery at Noro to Asian markets,” he said.
He believes the airport should be completed and ready for use by the end of this year.
By EDDIE OSIFELO