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The first international commercial flight from Brisbane into Munda in Solomon Islands is proposed for June this year.
Minister for Communication and Aviation Peter Shanel Angovaka revealed this in Parliament during the committee of supply in parliament last Monday.
“The first flight from Brisbane to Munda is being targeted for June.”
Parliament resolved into committee of supply to look into the 2018 budget which ended successfully last Monday.
The Minister was responding to question asked by Member of Parliament (MP) for East Malaita and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition group Manasseh Maelanga.
Maelanga was asking about the status of Munda airport since it was upgraded to become the second alternative airport for Solomon Islands to operate international flights.
He also asked about the work to upgrade Henderson airport.
In response, Minister said the first flight from Brisbane to Munda is scheduled for June this year.
He said preparation work for Munda to qualify for international flight is progressing well and at this stage they only need the delivery of a new fire truck and navigational equipment and other necessary equipment for the terminal.
Minister said those equipment is expected to be ready before the first flight from Brisbane landed on Munda in June.
He said there are two fire truck funded by New Zealand government which are expected to arrive next month (May) and one of them will be delivered to Munda.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Government will tar seal four domestic airports this year.
They are; Taro, Seghe, Suavanao and Lata.
Shanel Angovaka said this funding for the domestic airport comes in the development budget which the New Zealand government will foot.
He further revealed the airport to be upgraded for Dash-8 to operate flights are Gwaonaru’u (Auki), Kirakira, Parasi (South Malaita) and hopefully Tingoa (Renbel).
Minister said the SBD$40 million (US$5 million) allocated in their budget is to upgrade of those airports to accommodate Dash-8.
“We have never make use of Dash-8 on our domestic flights which is more economical, thus they have to upgrade those airports to meet the standards and requirements for dash-8,” the Minister added.
He told parliament as well that Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) has budget to upgrade of airports in their budget.
Furthermore, the minister confirmed that a test flight to Lomlom airport in the remote Reef Islands of Temotu Province was done last month (March) and it was deemed fit for flight operation.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS
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