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P.M. hails $50.2million airport apron project

There was a lot more to celebrate at the Faleolo International Airport on Tuesday than just the opening of three new aerobridges.

At the launch, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi heralded the uniqueness of another equally important development at the airport where he said it’s the “first project in Samoa in which two donor partners have collaborated for its successful completion".

Naturally, all eyes were on the aerobridges given it is the first time they have been used in Samoa.

But by costing comparison, the bigger project was the improvement and expansion of the airport apron from 31,000 square meters to 45,000 square meters. This needed to be done before the aerobridges were installed.

“This upgrade was made possible through funding from the World Bank and was procured under the Samoa Aviation Investment Project and constructed by Downer New Zealand over a period of nine months at a total cost of $50,241,786.81 Samoan Tala,” Tuilaepa said.

With this completed, Tuilaepa said it then allowed the Government to move on to aerobridges which has created a lot of excitement among travellers this week.

“The third and final phase of the Airport Terminal Facility Upgrade is the installation of the three new aerobridges you see today,” Tuilaepa said.

“Delivered as part of the total terminal upgrade, installation was slightly delayed due to the needed apron improvement and expansion.

“The total cost of the aerobridges is SAT$4,755,125.56 and was funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and installed and commissioned by the Shanghai Construction Group.”

Tuilaepa said the developments are major achievements for Samoa.

“The aerobridges and associated improvements on the terminal have dramatically improved accessibility for those with special needs and the wider travelling public,” he said.

“It also enhances passenger experience especially by providing shelter from the hot sun and the pouring rain.

“Today, as we now witness the two new projects completed and ready to be used by the travelling public, and it is with pride that our people, the Samoans, can travel to any airport in the world with the knowledge that we too, have aerobridges at our International Airport.

“In this revelation, we pause and take a moment to praise God for his endless blessings. May our Heavenly Father bless this Project and achievement.”

The Prime Minister concluded with a message to all Samoans.

“We Samoans should embrace and appreciate this landmark achievement to welcome our people and the world to Samoa.”

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