Author Archives: Jack Chong Gum

Construction of RSA Barrier Wall

Earlier this year on three separate occasions, high spring tides and large swells caused erosion along the Lagoon side shoulder of the Runway Safety Area (RSA) project site.  The severe weather identified a weak point in the design which would reduce the lifespan of the revetment and soon to be built new road if not addressed.

The RMIPA successfully got approval to construct a cement treated base course (CTB) and a concrete barrier wall. These improvements, designed by Beca International Consultants, will greatly enhance the protection to the road shoulder and pavement. Below are some photos of the CTB and wall currently under construction.


Construction of Airport Park Begins

Construction is underway for the new public park at Amata Kabua International Airport. The park, to be named the “Katoj-Iakwe Park”, is funded by a U.S grant that was secured by the women’s group, KIO Club.

Panoramic view of construction site

Panoramic view of construction site

The park will include (to name a few):

  • A track approximately 1300 feet long around and 10 feet wide, covering a total area of 12,370 square feet
  • Playground equipment
  • A garden
  • Solar lights to illuminate the track at night

The construction of the project is expected to be completed by late summer this year. The RMIPA advises the general public that entry to the area is prohibited during construction for safety reasons.

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


Airport Park Groundbreaking Ceremony

Airport Park Groundbreaking

A small groundbreaking ceremony for the airport park was held on November 22, 2013 at Amata Kabua International Airport. The ceremony was organized by the KIO Club, a group of young Marshallese women who are actively involved in the community. Joining KIO Club at the ceremony were First Lady Anono Loeak, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Armbruster, Cabinet Ministers, landowners, USP Director and staff, Port Authority officials and representatives of PII, the company contracted to construct the park facilities. Construction is anticipated to commence in early 2014.