New seal for Tonga’s Ha’apai airport runway

The Salote Pilolevu Airport in Ha’apai will see a new seal on its runway later this year.

The new resealing of the runway will give it a 10-year lifetime before it is rehabilitated again.

The resealing works on the runway is expected to commence in September and be completed by the end of the year.

The airport is expected to be partly closed during the works, which is expected to be 2 to 3 months.

The runway was last rehabilitated in 1998 under assistance from the Australian Government and the construction works were undertaken by the Ministry of Works.

The strength of the runway has slowly declined over the years due to normal ageing and frequent use by heavier aircrafts during peak seasons and during relief work after a natural disaster.

The World Bank, under the Tonga Resilient Transport Project, which became effective on 12 February 2019, provides funding for the resealing of the runway at the Airport.

The consulting firm responsible for the design and supervision has just submitted their detailed design report for the resealing works at the airport.

It is expected that after the resealing, travelling by air to Ha’apai will be safer. Similar works on the Lupepau’u International Airport and Fua’amotu International Airport, had already been undertaken.

The Kaufana Airport in ‘Eua, will be the subject of an obstacle limitation study to identify and possible removal of obstacle infringing the flight paths of aircrafts taking off and landing at the Airport.

It is expected that this study will take place in June 2019 and work to remove obstacles to commence after the report of the consultant, with its recommendations, is approved.

Flying to and from Kaufana will then be safer in the near future.