13 Dec 2018

Solomons landowners warned not to close airport

4:52 pm on 13 December 2018

Solomon Islands aviation authorities are warning landowners in Munda that there will be consequences if they try to shut down the government-owned airport.

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Photo: 123RF

The Solomon Star reported that landowners have threatened to close the airport because they have not received royalty payments from the government.

The permanent secretary of the ministry of aviation says the landowners have been paid.

But Moses Virivolomo said those without bank accounts have been given cash payouts early, while those with bank accounts are still waiting for their money to be paid into their accounts by the ministry of finance.

Mr Virivolomo said the landowners have no right to shutdown the airport.

The royalties are for traditional lands on either side of the runway which had to be cleared of trees in order for the runway to meet international standards.

The Munda airfield has been developed and upgraded to international status over the past eight years.

This was part of a US$35 million series of projects paid for by New Zealand to try and develop tourism and fishing in Western Province.

In April the minister of communication and aviation, Peter Shanel Angovaka, told parliament the first international commercial flight from Brisbane into Munda was expected in June.

There are still no international flights operating to or from the airport.