24 United States Air Force personnel are scheduled to arrive in Palau this week, in order to inspect the airports in Airai, Angaur, and Peleliu for serviceability.
The Air Force personnel, along with two replacement members of the Civic Action Team, are currently undergoing quarantine, and after arriving in Palau will complete two additional weeks of quarantine.
The Air Force personnel will be responsible for assessing the runways and ramps on the three separate islands, as well as determining requirements for grant aid.
Roman Tmetuchl International Airport in Airai, which has been hosting commercial jets for decades, is set to receive $10.2 million in infrastructural improvement grants from the US Federal Aviation Administration, which will help to improve runway safety and pavement sealing, as well as aeronautical studies for satellite-implementation. The landing strips in Angaur and Peleliu have both recently undergone improvements. The Angaur Airstrip, which underwent an expansion this past August with the help of Koa Moana Task Force and Surangel&Sons Construction, is designed to accommodate a commercial jet. A week after its renovation, on September 5, it hosted the landing of a military cargo plane, a US Air Force C-130 Hercules.
The arrival of the Air Force personnel was originally scheduled to coincide with the arrival of the US Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia, which is returning to Palau to continue work on the Aids to Navigation mission for shipping routes. However, the Cutter’s arrival has also been delayed, and it is now expected to sail into Palau’s waters later this week.