Fagali'i Airport to be shut

The Fagali’i International Airport will soon be a thing of the past.

The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, has confirmed that the airstrip will be turned into a test driving range and a vehicle registration inspection site under the umbrella of the Ministry of Police. 

“The airport will be closed down if not the end of the year; it’ll be the beginning of 2020," Papali'i said.  

“All the flights will operated out of the Faleolo International Airport."

 The decision has been made for safety reasons, the Minister revealed.

"The Fagali’i Airport has failed to meet international standards and for safety reasons it must be closed down and handed over to the Ministry of Police."

He said the Faleolo Airport has been certified and it meets international aviation requirements.

The initial plan in March was to hand over the Airport to the Samoa Airports Authority.

Minister Papali'i said Cabinet has yet to officially endorse the move but it will happen for the better. 

“There are many reasons why the Airport must be closed down. The tar on the runway is wearing out and in my view the runway is limited. A lot of concerns were raised by the public about the limited space of the runway,” he said. 

The Government believes that a private airline company should not run the airport, because other (aviation) companies are also using it which is a conflict of interest for them, said the Minister. 

“The registrations of vehicles will be handed over to the police next year and yet they don't have the space for it. This will be the perfect area for that.” 

He said this will also be a test driving range for those who need driver’s license.  

Emails to the Ministry of Police for comments were not answered as of press time. 

Regarding the new $14 million tala airport in Ti’avea, the Minister said that project is still underway. 

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