SOURCE: Press Secretariat
APIA: FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2015: Work has progressed for the plans to build a new airport at Aleipata with the selection of the land approximately 800m in length and 50m wide has been selected inland of Satitoa and Malaela for this project. The runway is expected to run 700m long and 18m wide.
This location is 26-32 feet above mean sea level and seven miles from the coastal main road and two miles from the
new access road, inland of the two villages.
Seventy five percent of the land is customary-owned while 25% is freehold and partly-owned by the Catholic Church.
Work plans in the pipeline include:
· A formal survey of the selected location and discussions with landowners to allow the construction of the new
· Consultant to work on the environment impact assessment and social impact assessment;
· Scope of the design and construction plan to determine the total cost of the project; and also the tender advertisement for suitably qualified bidders for the construction of the project;
· A consultant to design and supervise the project;
· Prepare a proposal to Cabinet to seek funding for the project.
In a press statement in 2013, the Government says the construction of an airport at Satitoa, Aleipata is an investment in critical infrastructure development for the future of this country.
An investment in rural development and prosperity, as it is an investment in offloading, settlement, social and economic pressures on the already-crowded capital Apia. Samoa’s population is expected to double in 50 years. Statistics indicate the numbers are not slowing down. If you want to invest in the future, you build today.
American Samoa will always remain an important trade and travel market for Samoa. Now and in the foreseeable future. As an American Territory, it will continue to serve as Samoa’s doorway to the United States with its 350 million population and $16 trillion dollar economy – the biggest in the world. The nearest point to American Samoa, and the United States, is Satitoa, Aleipata.
Not only is the location ideal, but it makes a lot of economic sense to build the necessary port and airport infrastructure at Satitoa. It not only cuts down fuel costs and travel time between the two Samoas, but opens up commercial opportunities in this vast region of the country.
The Aleipata to Falealili region – with its natural attractions and the best beaches – is already experiencing a booming tourism industry. Several boutique resorts have opened up around the area over the last few years with more in the pipeline in the coming months.
The bold vision – and expectation – is that Aleipata will have its own thriving satellite township in 20-30 years time. Good state leadership does not become mired and preoccupied in minute issues but must have a dynamic, long term vision for future prosperity, opportunity and development of its citizens.