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.