Honiara: 6 May 2016
The Solomon Islands Minister for Communication and Aviation, the Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka, reported he is pleased with the outcome of bilateral talks on communication and aviation reforms he held in New Zealand earlier this week with New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, the Minister for State- Owned Enterprises, the Hon Todd McClay, other senior NZ government officials and the General Manager, Operations, of Wellington Airport, Mr Ayolt Wiertsema.
The bilateral meeting between Minister Agovaka and the New Zealand Foreign Minister focused on the significant progress being made in the Solomon Islands Aviation Sector.
Minister Agovaka reaffirmed the Solomon Islands Government’s commitment to modernising aviation in the Solomon Islands, while Minister McCully gave his assurances that New Zealand is committed to assisting the Solomon Islands aviation sector to move forward.
During the meeting Minister McCully confirmed New Zealand’s funding contribution of approximately NZ$7.7 Million (SB$42 Million) to upgrade Munda Airport (in the Western Province) to Emergency Alternative Runway Status.
This important contribution will reduce the fuel costs for international flights into the Solomon Islands which in turn should translate into cheaper international travel, facilitating tourism and trade in the Solomon Islands.
The funding will cover security fencing, airfield ground lighting and navigational aids, an airport rescue and firefighting building and two fire engines.
The Solomon Island Government, in turn, has committed to co-financing this importantnational project with approximately NZ$3.7 million (SB$20m).
Summing up on his bilateral meeting with the New Zealand Minister for State- Owned Enterprises, the Hon McClay, Minister Agovaka acknowledged the valuable briefing he had been given on how Public Private Partnerships (PPP) operate in the Aviation Sector and stated that the Solomon Islands is keen to lean from New Zealand’s PPP experience in order to advance the aviation modernisation agenda that the Solomon Island Government is currently pursuing.
Source: Solomon Islands Government Press Release.