A plan is in motion to build a new airport terminal for Amata Kabua International, described as the oldest terminal in the Micronesia region.
At an informational meeting about planning efforts for a new terminal held last Thursday at the RRE compound in Majuro, RMI Ports Authority officials and their Honolulu consulting firm, PRYZM Consulting, briefed about 40 people on developments.
The main concern brought up by people attending the informational session was the fact that the existing lease on the airport property expires in three years and there is a need to begin negotiating terms of a new lease as soon as possible.
Ports Authority Director Joe Tiobech said US Federal Aviation Authority-funded improvements to the runway and safety areas at the east and west ends of the runway are now wrapping up. “We have one of the best airports in Micronesia,” said Tiobech. But that observation does not include the terminal, the oldest in a region that has seen all other islands in Palau and the FSM upgrade their terminals.
“Ports Authority has not been idle,” he said. “We’ve been tenaciously exploring options to improve the terminal.”
PRYZM President Kai Austin and project architect David Ayer then presented what was described as very preliminary concept for a new terminal working within existing land area. “It’s a conceptual rendering of what a new airport terminal might look like,” said Austin. “It is subject to change.” He said the point of Thursday’s public meeting was to share information and get feedback.
Jack Chong Gum, former director of Ports Authority who is now CEO of MEC, handled the question and answer session with the public and noted: “This session is to share information and hear feedback. Then we will talk with donors about possible funding. It (funding) isn’t certain at this point.”
In response to a question about the estimated cost of the new terminal, Austin said they could not yet offer a cost since the project is “conceptual” at this point. “Until it goes to a full design, we won’t know the cost,” he said.
Read more about this in the March 3, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.