30 Aug 2012

Tokelau likely to build first airstrip on Nukunonu

6:10 pm on 30 August 2012

The head of the Apia-based Tokelau government administration office says the General Fono has agreed to go ahead with plans for the atolls' first airstrip.

Joe Suveinakama says following a survey earlier this year several sites in each village were identified but the first recommendation is for the runway to be built on Nukunonu.

He says an environmental impact assessment as well as social and economic reports are being prepared.

He says the findings will be tabled in the October General Fono as part of the New Zealand government's new 13 million US dollar transport plan, which includes an upgraded ferry on a two-year lease, and the commission of a new purpose-built vessel due in 2014.

"It is the feeling between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand and the leaders of Tokelau that this opton of air service needs to be considered into the Total Transport Package. So that's actually now on the table. And it will also include medical evacuations and also the needs of the Government and likewise the travelling community."

Joe Suveinakama says the flight frequency and number of passengers will be determined once the various costs have been tallied.