Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the loan agreement with the Palau International Airport Corporation — a special purpose company established by the government of the Republic of Palau and the Japan Airport Management Partners Company Limited (JAMP) — for the “renovation, expansion and management of Palau International Airport Project”.

The project will undertake expansion, renovation, operation and maintenance of passenger terminal facilities at the Palau’s only international airport. Goals of the project are to reduce congestion at the passenger terminal, improve terminal convenience and the terminal’s commercial facilities.

Tourism is a core industry in Palau, representing about 75 percent of the country’s GDP, providing about 80 percent of its foreign currency income, and accounting for about 40 percent of its employment.

Due to a rise in the number of tourists over the past several years to Palau, the number of passengers utilizing the airport has also risen during the period from 2000 to 2017 at an annual rate of about 4.3 percent. Against the terminal capacity of 230,000 passengers per year, 276,000 passengers used the airport in 2017. During the peak season, this has resulted in long lines at immigration and check-in counters, and thus making expansion of airport facilities a matter of pressing concern. The government of Palau considers the expansion of an airport system to accommodate the future demand a strategic priority policy in its Palau 2020 National Master Development Plan.

Sponsors of this project are Sojitz Corporation, which brings broad knowledge and the network related to the aviation industry, and the Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd. (JATCO), which contributes to the airport operation through its knowledge derived from the operation of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), with further support from the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN). Taisei Corporation has been designated as the main contractor to carry out the planned airport expansion and improvement work.

The project is Palau’s first-ever major public-private partnership for infrastructure development, and is expected to serve as a model for other projects. The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Palau. This project symbolizes the partnership between Palau and Japan.

The Japan Airport Management Partners Company is a joint venture of Sojitz, JATCO and JOIN. (PR)