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TaiwanICDF Signs Loan Agreement Supporting Upgrade of Bonriki International Airport, Kiribati

The International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), represented by Deputy Secretary General Dr. Lee Pai-po, and the Republic of Kiribati, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific, represented by Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Atanteora Beiatau, signed a Loan Agreement today, formally committing to the Repair and Upgrade of Bonriki International Airport Project in Kiribati. Through the project, the TaiwanICDF will provide a USD-loan equivalent to AUD 14 million, to finance the cost of renovating the airport, which is situated in the nation’s capital, Tarawa.

Major improvements to Kiribati’s main airport are deemed to be essential: the country is formed by dozens of coral atolls scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean, so air travel is considered a bridge connecting the nation to the outside world and a hub between the capital and outlying islands. As such, the TaiwanICDF and the government of Kiribati are implementing the project in order to raise aviation safety standards and service levels, in coordination with Kiribati’s national economic development strategy.

Every aspect of Bonriki Airport, including the terminal buildings, facilities and runway, is considered well below international standards. The passenger terminal is poorly equipped and cramped, while more seriously, the airport’s single runway, on which cracks are widely observed, poses a threat to flight safety. Flights are also cancelled from time to time due to water encroaching onto the runway during heavy rains. These safety concerns, which deter foreign visitors from traveling to Kiribati, would leave the nation ever more isolated, and also disrupt its inter-island transport. As such, a comprehensive upgrade to the airport is considered an urgent necessity in order to maintain the social and economic development of the country.

The objective of the project is to upgrade facilities so as to satisfy basic requirements for operational and flight safety, within the existing perimeters of the site. Kiribati’s unique geography and environment, and these constraints due to restrictions on space at the airport, have required the I-Kiribati government and the TaiwanICDF to overcome a number of technical difficulties. Several alternative solutions were considered before the project plan and subsequent Loan Agreement were finalized. Once the project commences, the TaiwanICDF will encourage Taiwanese firms to bid on forthcoming construction work.

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  • Date:2010/6/8