Tuvalu’s New Airport

Even though Tuvalu is not a popular country by the Western society’s notion, -mainly due to its location, irrelevancy on international affairs, and size both of population and territories- the country still has a minimal rate of foreign inversions.

One of the few inversions that was funded by other countries was the Funafuti International Airport, originally a United States Navy base built during World War II. This airport has, ever since it stopped being a military base, served the purpose of transporting in and out of the main island few passengers and cargo on a weekly basis. 

Even though the airport lacks the modern infrastructure of a regular one in any other part of the world, the airport holds several functions in the capital city and the rest of islands like: a playfield due to the lack of space in the island to build a park, increase in economic activity when new passengers/cargo arrive or leave, etc. 

A proposal for the construction of a new airport in the second most populated island of Tuvalu, Nukufetau has arised due to the necessity of further increasing the country’s transport speed.

The construction of this new airport will bring both perks and drawbacks. One perk is that Tuvaluans will enjoy faster and easier transportation between islands.

Another advantage is that, in case of an emergency in any of the two islands, the time that someone needed to travel in order to arrive at any of the two islands (3-4 hrs by boat) will be greatly reduced.

Another advantage is the possibility for Tuvalu to nationalize its travel industry, not only between islands of the country, but also to other countries around Tuvalu. This is because traveling with foreign airlines like Fiji Airways is more expensive than if Tuvaluans had at least one airplane for themselves.

Yet still, there is one major drawback to all this project: the subsidies the government would have to give to the land owners of the land where the airport is going to be built. Unfortunately, Tuvalu’s government does not have a lot of economic or monetary funds, so building the airport and subsidizing the landowners would mean a great expense for them.

Even though opinions are mixed, the construction of this new airport could be either an economic loss for the country or a major convenience for the rest of the population of Tuvalu apart from the capital city. 

No one except the government is able to determine the factability of this new project, people will just have to wait for an official announcement.

Matías Contreras

Saving Tuvalu Analytical Writer

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