Issue No. 01/2021 – Monday, 11 January 2021 (Kitiona Tausi)
The Minister of Finance, Hon Seve Paeniu is very keen to have the airfields constructed on each island as soon as possible. Hon Paeniu is starting his visit to the islands to discuss with the people on each island about the construction of the airfield and especially the land issue that would be included in the lease for the airfield.
Hon Paeniu said, he will be travelling on today’s Nivaga III voyage to Nukulaelae and Niulakita for this purpose. There will be no airfield to be constructed on the island of Niulakita.
The Minister’s visit to the other islands will follow on the next Nivaga III voyages when it returns from southern islands.
In my earlier interviews with Hon Paeniu, he said the leased lands for airfields will be categorized as government’s commercial leased lands at a term of 50 years at the rate of $7,500 a year.
He expects all the airfields to be completed by the middle of 2021 and the aircraft, a 19-seater twin-otter and land based for the domestic air-service will be ready by April 2021. The aircraft is being built by an aircraft manufacturing company in Canada and this lockdown may delay the delivery of the aircraft to Tuvalu.
Hon Paeniu also said the 30 seater aircraft for the international air-service is yet to be procured.