21 Aug 2013

Solomons deputy PM says new airport will bring in numbers

3:18 pm on 21 August 2013

The Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister says a new airstrip will confirm the Western Province as the country's tourism hub.

The Munda airstrip was officially opened during last week's visit of New Zealand's foreign minister Murray McCully.

Manasseh Maelanga says they had worked through many issues with landowners, and domestic and international terminals still need to be built.

The new airstrip, which was part of a 20 million US dollar aid package from New Zealand, can now receive international flights and will also act as an alternate landing strip for flights diverted from Honiara in bad weather.

Speaking at the opening, Mr Maelanga said the new runway will open up the country to visitors from Asia and the Pacific.

"I am sure many income and employment opportunities will be generated. We will have better and convenient flight connections for our business communities and the travelling public. One can imagine the new set of business activities as well as regrowth in our communities and regions."

Manasseh Maelanga.