An artists impression of what the airport will look like after the facelift
Story and photos by Lagi Keresoma
APIA: WEDNESDAY 22 JULY 2015: Work on the $50 million upgrading of Faleolo International Airport terminal building started today with a ground breaking ceremony led by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Samoa, Her Excellency Madam Li Yanduan and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.
The agreement for the project was signed 24th November 2014 with the construction contract awarded to Shanghai Construction Company Ltd from China.
The upgrading includes the improvement of the existing terminal building, the installation of arrow bridges, installment of a dedicated power system and extension to the terminal.
“The total area will increase from 5500 square meter to close to 12,000 square meters and will cater for 600,000 annual passengers,” said Tuilaepa.
He said the architectural design of the terminal building has incorporated traditional Samoa fale shape which combines with the modern styles “which will offer an unmatched and pleasing impression to departing and arriving visitors.”
“The design also draws extensively on current greening principles to ensure more energy efficient, more natural lightning and ventilation terminal facilities,” said Tuilaepa.
Tuilaepa also said there will be an enlargement for airport agencies and provision for more business, rental areas for tourism services and to ensure unique and better functional experience befitting a modern international airport.
The development for better passenger experience is further augmented by arrow bridges especially for the elderly and disable people.
Modern digital equipment, flight information, a display system and automatic passenger system, immigration information system all gears up to the upgrading and modernization of Faleolo International Airport.
China is funding Phase One and Phase Two is funded by the World Bank, and will include upgrading the entrance and the landing and take-off area for aircrafts.
“Faleolo will be just like any other international airport,” said Samoa Airport Authority (SAA) Chief Executive Officer Magele Hoe Viali.
The major facelift for the Faleolo International Airport is part of Governments plans to position Samoa as a hub for tourism, travel and event such as conferences in the South Pacific region.