SAMOA’S UPGRADED AIRPORT WILL ATTRACT MORE TOURISTS, SAYS PM TUILAEPAAT OPENING

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SAMOA’S UPGRADED AIRPORT WILL ATTRACT MORE TOURISTS, SAYS PM TUILAEPA AT OPENING

By Keni Ramese Lesa

Apia (October 12, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, is confident the recently upgraded Faleolo International Airport will attract more tourists and travelers to the country. This was the crux of his speech during the official opening of the $25.8 million Faleolo International Airport Upgrading Project 2000.

Considering benefits generated from the tourism and the traveling industry, Tuilaepa said the upgrading works to the airport would not only assist air transport development but it would also boost the tourism industry. Tuilaepa noted that with the new facilities, the airport now provides "greater capacity and more flexibility," something the traveling public has been wanting for a long time.

Upgrading works was done to the terminal, control tower and the fire station.

Fletcher Constructions South Pacific Ltd., for a cost of $10.3 million, carried out the work. This included terminal refurbishment, a new control tower, a new rescue fire station and the airline lounge.

The lounge has been leased to Polynesian Airlines by the Samoa Airport Authority (SAA).

The Fulton Hogan Company, for a cost of $12.9 million, upgraded the runway. The cost covered runway and apron resurfacing, runway and apron extension, a new taxiway and associated airfield lighting.

According to Tuilaepa, the Airport Upgrading Project was the first phase of the Infrastructure Asset Management Project. The other two phases are the Coastal and Road Upgrade projects. Funded by the World Bank, AusAID and the Samoan government, the total project comes to a cost of $58 million.

Tuilaepa was thankful to the World Bank for taking a lead role in lending a helping hand. He said the World Bank was there to serve as a "shelter" to developing countries like Samoa.

Tuilaepa said he is certain the new look airport would encourage business people to invest in Samoa. He also believes the Upgrading Project would increase the number of passengers traveling in and out of the country, especially when Polynesian Airlines' new Boeing 737-800 arrives next month.

Mrs. Celine Keil was called upon to cut the ribbon to open the paving works. Mrs. Ida Vaai did the unveiling of the plaque to commemorate the project.

Rev. Lale Ieremia of Fasitoo Tai conducted the prayer service.

Presence at the opening were members of the Council of Deputies, members of Parliament, diplomatic corps members, invited guests and the business community.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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