Samoa's new airport to be built on swampland

Samoa's Government is pushing ahead with construction of a $US5 million airport at Ti'avea on Upolu island, although it will only be used for emergency landings.

Fagali'i Airport would also continue to be used, but because of its close location to neighbouring American Samoa, Ti'avea would be in operation during bad weather, said Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure Papali'i Niko Lee Hang.

The Minister also revealed the land being used was swampland, which would need to be reclaimed, Samoa Observer reported.

In May, a memorandum of agreement and a deed of settlement was signed between the Government and families who owned the land.

The Minister said an environmental assessment was done, but they did not discover until later it was to be built on swampland.

The project is currently projected to cost $US5 million with $US1.5 million in compensation for the 26 acres of land being used.

Papali'i said he was not sure what the additional reclamation costs would be but the government is proceeding because the airport is needed.