Transformative Upgrade Underway for Santa Cruz (Lata) Airfield with SBD 117 Million Investment
The Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) is gearing up for the significant upgrade of the Santa Cruz (Lata) Airfield, estimated at SBD 117 million, through the Second Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP2). Financed by the World Bank, the project aims to enhance aviation infrastructure in the country.
Inviting bids for the 1,210-meter-long Santa Cruz Airfield runway pavement in Temotu Province, the MCA is facilitating international competitive procurement using the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations. The bidding process is currently open and is scheduled to close at 10 a.m. (Solomon Islands time) on 20th February 2024.
The necessity for this upgrade stems from the challenges posed by the 645-kilometer distance from Honiara, making it difficult for aircraft to return from Santa Cruz in adverse weather conditions or when faced with mechanical issues. Currently, the topsoil runway is frequently saturated, leading to flooding that damages the runway and complicates landing and takeoff. Additionally, the northern end of the runway is exposed to increasing wind-driven ocean swells.
To address these climate-related risks, SIRAP2 will implement comprehensive upgrades, including reinforcing the airfield’s seawall, applying a bituminous seal to the runway, and enhancing the taxiway airfield drainage. These improvements will not only enhance wet weather operations but also increase safety for Dash 8 aircraft.
Mckinnie Dentana, the Supervising Permanent Secretary in MCA, emphasized that these enhancements will result in time and cost savings for passengers. Furthermore, the upgrades are anticipated to reduce travel time and minimize delays caused by service disruptions, potentially leading to increased passenger numbers upon completion of construction.
In addition to the Santa Cruz Airfield upgrade, SIRAP2 is actively involved in various projects across the Solomon Islands, including the construction of four new bridges in Malaita (Kolofe1, Kolofe2, Su’u Harbor, and Bira Bridges), road upgrades in Noro, improvements to Honiara International Airport and Munda International Airport, investments in air navigation systems in Makira-Ulawa and Temotu Provinces, and support for regional airport maintenance.
For further information on the bidding process, interested and eligible bidders can contact the SIRAP2 procurement team through the following: