14 Dec 2011

World Bank provides $62 million boost to Pacific aviation

12:52 pm on 14 December 2011

The World Bank has approved a 62 million US dollar grant to improve aviation in the Pacific region.

The first phase of the Pacific Aviation Investment Program will focus on Kiribati, Tonga and Tuvalu, and is aimed at boosting trade and tourism across the region.

The World Bank says safe and efficient air travel is critical to support tourism and to connect Pacific Island countries to each other and larger markets, including Australia, the United States and New Zealand.

It says urgent work is needed to ensure air travel in the region meets minimum international safety requirements.

Runways have deteriorated and navigation aids and fire safety equipment need urgent attention.

Tourism makes up an average twenty percent of GDP in Pacific Island economies.