The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$23 million (approximately AUD$35.3 million) in grant financing to bolster Tuvalu’s aviation sector.

The Tuvalu Safe and Resilient Aviation Project aims to improve the safety of air travel for all Tuvaluans and visitors, with critical improvements to Tuvalu’s only international airport and runway. The project will also help ensure that the nation’s aviation sector continues to meet international standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“Ensuring the safe, resilient, and reliable travel of passengers in and out of Tuvalu by air is critical for access to overseas education; jobs; health care; trade, and economic opportunities,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development. “This important support from the World Bank will ensure our airport is able to withstand future climate related emergencies.”

The project focuses on upgrading critical airport equipment; improvements to airport infrastructure to strengthen its resilience to disasters and climate events; as well as strengthening the capacity of aviation regulators and operators and other technical support.

“Tuvalu is at the forefront of climate impacts, and by the nature of its remoteness, is disproportionately affected by environmental emergencies requiring urgent action to ensure its international ports of entry are climate resilient,” said Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. “That’s why the World Bank is proud to be supporting this project to help protect and enhance Tuvalu’s aviation sector and airport – one of its most essential economic gateways.”

The Tuvalu Safe and Resilient Aviation Project is financed through grants delivered through the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in need countries. This project builds on work delivered through the World Bank-financed Tuvalu Aviation Investment Project – part of the region-wide Pacific Aviation Investment Programme (PAIP).