A CI News file photo of Manihiki's airport. 20052254
Covid-19 had disrupted plans to start Manihiki airport upgrade work, but construction could be ready as early as July, if funding is available for the project.
airport upgrade is in the pipeline but there’s no funding yet to start the
project, says Secretary of Infrastructure Cook Islands, Diane Charlie-Puna.
said the ministry is in the process of trying to get the airport to meet the
minimum infrastructure requirements.
trying to build an airport to accommodate bigger planes.”
means the current coral runway would be sealed and extended.
negotiations took place a week ago on the island to discuss the land
acquisition needed to make the airport larger.
said the new airport will be around 150 metres by 2000 metres, about 74 acres.
the largest plane able to fly to Manihiki can carry a maximum of 15 passengers.
The upgrade will mean up to 34 people can fly to the island.
that will make the flights is Air Rarotonga’s Saab 340B, which at present,
exclusively flies between Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
airport upgrade is part of the Cook Islands National Infrastructure Investment
February 11 a request for tender has been made by ICI. The request is for the
design of the airport upgrades in Manihiki and Tongareva.
said Covid-19 had disrupted plans to start work, but construction could be
ready as early as July, providing there is funding available for the project.
18, a Government delegation went to Manihiki to discuss the upgrades with
landowners. The trip consisted of, Charlie-Puna, Deputy Prime Minister Robert
Tapaitau, former prime minister Henry Puna and his wife Akaiti Puna.
was also the leader of the Opposition Tina Browne.
said Browne attended the trip because of her history previously taking part in
Manihiki airport negotiations.
Browne was acting on behalf of landowners when attempts were made by Government
to acquire the land for the airport.
of ownership amongst landowners resulted in the project being put on hold.
trip, Browne was assisting the delegation in negotiations.
“It was an excellent outcome. The owners unanimously agreed that the work on
the airport must go ahead and the ownership issues will be determined in due
for the people in Manihiki and other islands in the north is that the upgrade
will result in cheaper airfares and more cargo space.”
said part of the trip was to ensure landowners understood the benefits of the
compensation was discussed as part of the negotiations, adding the landowners
would receive the benefit of having the upgraded airstrip but not any
compensation for the land.
“If we had
to pay for that land, it would be more expensive then to upgrade the airport.”
said another meeting is planned for landowners based in Rarotonga.
still more work to be done.”
said the next step is for the land to be formally surveyed and acquisition of
the land needs to be completed by Government.