18 Aug 2016

Solomon airlines chief says a terminal is needed for multi-million dollar runway

4:15 pm on 18 August 2016

Solomon Airlines says an international terminal needs to be built in order for a runway upgrade in Munda to be of full use to airline operators.

The New Zealand aid programme spent US$6m on extending and resurfacing the Munda runway in the country's Western Province.

A further $6m has been allocated to bring the airport up to emergency alternative status through the installation of navigational lights, a perimeter fence and the purchase of two second-hand fire engines.

The main benefit of the upgrade will be that international airlines will be able to carry up three tonnes less reserve fuel meaning more capacity for passengers and freight.

Solomon Airlines

Solomon Airlines Photo: Supplied

But Solomon Airlines acting CEO Gus Kraus said the runway will have very little usefulness beyond this without a terminal and adequate customs, quarantine and immigration facilities.

He says he finds it odd that no one is talking about the need for an international terminal at Munda.

"People seem to be not trying to put the airport terminal into the equation but there is no point in landing a jet their without proper facilities to cater for that. Whether they are there to wait or clear customs or immigration or whatever is the requirement you have got to have a terminal that can take that size aeroplanes."