Wednesday, 7 December 2011 8:17 AM

New Zealand Helps Redevelop Munda Airport

Work is about to begin to develop Solomon Islands Munda airfield so it can take international flights in emergencies.

In a major aid development New Zealand has joined with the Solomons' government to redevelop Munda so it can serve as a back up to Honiara's Henderson Airport.

New Zealand's high commissioner to Solomon Islands, Mark Ramsden, took part in a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.

He says it's a project of national significance that will allow planes coming into Honiara to carry less fuel as they'll no longer be reliant on more distant alternative airports in Vanuatu.

"It's a big project and it fits in together with two other key pieces of infrastructure in this part of the Solomon Islands. One is a road between here [Munda] and the fishing port of Noro, which is about 20 plus kilometres away," said the New Zealand high commissioner to Solomon Islands Mark Ramsden.

Noro is the site of the Solomon Taiyo, or Soltai - a processing plant for tuna which now employs well over 1200 people, and

Mr Ramsden says that also in the package of works is the resealing of Nusa Tupe airport at Gizo to further improve domestic flight connections.