Yearly Archives: 2014

RMIPA Provides an Educational Experience

Majuro students recently had an opportunity to dive a little deeper into some of the issues that affect their community.

Last week, a class of seniors from Majuro Cooperative School visited the RMI Ports Authority (RMIPA) headquarters in Delap and talked with RMIPA Director Jack Chong-Gum about all things ports – from operations and safety to parks and recreation.

The purpose of the visit was to provide the students with clearer picture of what the ports authority does, not only in terms of maintaining safe and efficient commercial and transportation services at the airport and seaports, but also with regards to its community outreach, job creation and environmental protection efforts.

“It is really our pleasure to be able to meet with the students,” Chong-Gum said.  “Our community is closely connected and today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.  It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about some of the work going on in their backyards and also a great audience for us – to show them that we can make a positive impact.”

In addition to providing an overview of how operations work at the airport and seaports, Chong-Gum gave a tour of RMIPA’s recently launched website and also briefed the class on some of the major ongoing projects, including the expansion of the Runway Safety Area (RSA) at AKIA along with the associated Coral Remediation Program and the community park project being undertaken in partnership with Kora in Okrane (KIO) Club.

The park project, which will include picnic areas, a children’s playground and a paved exercise track, broke ground in November and will provide a new ideal place for family gatherings.  The Coral Remediation Program, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), involves growing new coral in the lagoon that will be relocated or replanted at the RSA site area to replace any that may have been impacted from dredging activities.  It is the first project of its kind in the Marshall Islands.

Student Beauty Tombler said that what she learned during the visit gave her a new outlook on the work the ports authority performs.  “It was a great to learn that what RMIPA is doing at the airport is for a good cause – safety,” she said. “To be honest, I always thought of the construction at the airport as nothing more than destruction of our coral reefs and killing of our natural wildlife, but I am glad to now have a bigger perspective of the outcome of the project.

The field trip to RMIPA is just one of several that Co-op instructor David Applebaum has been arranging for his students.  “I think the students really got a lot out of it – I certainly did,” Applebaum said.  The visits are short, but at least we get a taste of what goes on at each place.”


Sitting from left to right are Ryan Jaji Muller, Jolynn Gideon, Damien Lemari and Joseph Katjang. Standing are Jack Chong-Gum (RMIPA Director) and Mr. David Applebaum (their teacher).
Missing from the photo is Beauty Tombler.
Photo credit: Jon Pasierb

What they Said…
I learned a lot of things during the visit.  I like the idea of the project of extending the runway just in case something goes wrong.  I was surprised to hear that Majuro has the longest runway.  I learned from a visit at Trust Company that the Marshall Islands is in the top 3 countries to register boats and now we have one of the longest runways in Micronesia.  For a small country I think this is great.             — Damien Lemari

And it is great to know that the company is also reaching out to the people and setting up picnic areas and playgrounds to replace those of which have been covered.  Although we miss our picnic areas, the visit gave us an understanding that not only are you thinking about the safety of the people, but you are also thinking of the happiness and joy as well.             — Beauty Tombler

We learned a lot.  I learned many things about the airport project that Port Authority is doing.  This project will create many new jobs.  This will help people who are unemployed to get a job, which people need to support themselves.             — Joseph Katjang

I am happy that there is a new park you guys are making for the community.  I did not know how strong and dangerous a plane’s engine is until you showed me how strong it is with the video on your website.             — Ryan Jaji Muller


RMIPA Completes First FAA Airports GIS Project in the Pacific

RMIPA is currently concluding a project to digitally map the Amata Kabua International Airport (AKIA). This project was initiated by the FAA, as they now require airports to provide digital geographic information systems, or GIS, data to assist with airport planning. Previously, planning between RMIPA and the FAA was done manually, by mailing CAD drawings between Majuro and Honolulu.

In order to create the GIS database, RMIPA’s contract team analyzed existing CAD files of AKIA, acquired satellite imagery of the area surrounding AKIA, performed a ground survey of safety critical airport features, conducted an analysis of obstructions around AKIA, and digitally extracted detailed airport data from the satellite imagery. This project culminated with the submission of an FAA-compliant dataset to the FAA’s Airports GIS website.

As a result of completing this project, RMIPA will now be able to digitally collaborate with FAA regarding matters concerning AKIA, allowing for faster and more informed decision making. The GIS data will now also be available for future contractors who are performing projects at AKIA, eliminating the need for duplicative survey work, resulting in project savings for RMIPA. In addition, RMIPA will be able to use this data in a variety of ways to assist in the management and operations of AKIA and its facilities.

By complying with the FAA Airport Surveying – GIS Program, RMIPA is positioned to continue receiving U.S. FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants in order to maintain and build critical air transportation infrastructure, with the goal of growing aviation related development for the benefit of Majuro and the Marshall Islands.

Completion of this project puts RMIPA at the forefront of the new paradigm in which airports will be managed in the future. RMIPA’s contract team will be visiting Majuro during the week of February 17, 2014 to present the results of the project to the RMIPA Board of Directors.

Sample of the GIS data around the terminal, apron, and runway areas that was collected as part of this project

Sample of the GIS data around the terminal, apron, and runway areas that was collected as part of this project

Visualization of the approach to Runway 25 from the GIS data

Visualization of the approach to Runway 25 from the GIS data


Cabinet Gives Green Light for New Airport Terminal

At a recent meeting, the Cabinet of President Christopher Loeak’s Administration approved the construction of a new terminal building at Amata Kabua International Airport (AKIA) as one of its highest priority projects.

AKIA is the main international airport serving the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Located on the main island of Majuro Atoll, AKIA is operated and managed by the RMIPA.  The existing terminal facility at AKIA serves both international and domestic flights. Both departing and arriving passengers enter through the main terminal lobby.  The airport terminal – opened in 1975 and designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Division –has a total space area of approximately 7,530 square feet.  This limited space, coupled with the terminal’s layout, causes unneeded delay, congestion and inefficiencies with the processing of both arriving and departing passengers, cargo handling, and baggage claim services.  Furthermore, due to age and the fact the airport has become a public gathering place; the existing terminal has become insufficient to meet the overall needs of security and safety.

Recognizing that the issues with the airport terminal have to be addressed in a timely manner, the Cabinet directed the RMIPA to commence work for the design of a new terminal building. The first stage in the process will be to conduct a Feasibility Study for the new airport terminal.

The Feasibility Study is necessary as it will provide RMIPA with multiple options for a new terminal facility, including opinions of development costs.  A primary goal of the study will be to attempt to expose and validate a terminal development solution which minimizes the creation of new land.  This goal is paramount because the cost and time associated with land creation may delay or stop the project’s development.  Past experience at the airport has shown that land creation can absorb 50-75% percent of project development costs.  The RMIPA wants to avoid this scenario, if possible.  Other elements of the Feasibility Study include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop a schematic design of the new terminal facility with different design options to assist the RMIPA Board in choosing the “best” option;
  • Provide drawings of overall site plan, building space assignments, and exterior elevations;
  • Drawings are to include views to show safety and obstruction requirements of the FAA and ICAO;
  • Furnish a sub-set document, born of the study, which can be used by RMIPA for funding applications and discussions with potential donor or funding organizations.

Following the RMIPA Board’s approval, the new Airport Terminal Feasibility Study will soon commence beginning with meetings on Majuro with various airport stakeholders.  RMIPA has commissioned Lyon Associates, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm based in Honolulu HI, to perform the services required for the feasibility study.

Proposed AKIA Terminal Layout from 2012 Airport Master Plan

Proposed AKIA Terminal Layout from 2012 Airport Master Plan


Holiday bash a smashing success

Friends, family, business associates and community partners gathered to ring in the new year in style at the RMIPA annual holiday party held Saturday, January 4 at Lanai in downtown Majuro.

The night kicked off with speeches by RMIPA Board Chairman David Paul, RMIPA Director Jack Chong-Gum and Airport Manager Thomas Maddison. “The Board and I are happy to be able to throw this party for the employees and their families,” Chong-Gum said. “It’s a small way to say thanks for all the hard work everyone puts in during the year.”

Food, music, dancing, games and raffle prize giveaways followed as everyone relaxed and enjoyed the evening. A big kommol tata and Happy New Year to everyone who attended. We are excited to begin a pleasant and prosperous 2014 on a high note and look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

RMIPA would like to give a special thanks to the following sponsors and contributors:
Air Marshall Islands, Bank of Guam, Bank of Marshall Islands, Copymaster, Home Garden, Jack Chong-Gum, Joe Tiobech, Lyon Associates, Majuro Computer Service, Marshall Islands Resort, MIMRA, MEC, MWSC, NTA, Pony Ma (Ching Fu n AOMI), Riwut Corner, Rowena Manalo, Thomas Maddison, Uliga Shipping Agency, Z-Brother




RMIPA bids farewell to a friend


On January 2, 2014, RMIPA Board Member Gary “Kakki” Elaisha passed away on Ebeye from an apparent heart attack.

Kakki had been a very active member of the RMIPA board for the past two years and was firmly committed to improving the agency’s operations and services for the people of Majuro and Kwajalein. He was a joy to work with and his good humor and helpful nature will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and worked with him.

The RMIPA Board, management and staff offer our deepest condolences and prayers for Gary’s family during this very difficult time.


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