Air Marshall Islands set up a temporary passenger check-in using its cargo facility next to the main terminal at Amata Kabua Inernational Airport in Majuro after the terminal was declared unsafe for use in January. Photo by Giff Johnson

MAJURO (MARIANAS VARIETY) —— United Airlines is soon to resume passenger service to Majuro following completion of emergency renovation work at Amata Kabua International Airport’s main terminal.

Tentative plans were in motion for passenger service to resume this week 11 April, according to Marshall Islands Ports Authority officials.

Passenger pickup and drop off in Majuro — except for repatriation groups that do not use the airport terminal — has been halted for nearly three months. United Airlines announced January 18 that it was halting passenger service to and from Majuro due to the hazardous condition of the airport terminal.

The problem with the terminal had been known since early 2020 when the Hawaii engineering company Pryzm issued a report on termite damage and other problems throughout the 50-year-old terminal. Despite the report for the Ports Authority in 2020, no action was taken to improve the facility, even after a United Airlines employee fell through the floor of the airline’s former second floor office in the main terminal last October.

It wasn’t until United’s suspension of passenger service that the Marshall Islands government and Ports Authority moved into speedy action, engaging Pacific International Inc. to renovate the main terminal, customs and cargo areas.

That work wrapped in the past few days.

United had continued stopping in Majuro on its Island Hopper flight between Hawaii and Guam for refueling and to drop off small groups of people being repatriated who were collected directly from the airplane and taken to quarantine facilities as part of Covid-prevention rules.

“The majority of work is complete except for minor additional and repair works at Immigration and we are ready to issue the substantial completion certificate,” said the Ministry of Works’ Project Management Unit Manager Melvin Dacillo.

Once Dacillo issues his completion certificate, it will be transmitted to United Airlines for review and final approval of the resumption of passenger service for Majuro, said Ports Authority Acting CEO Larry Hernandez. He anticipated that this would see the first passengers going in and out of Majuro starting 11 April.

“The work is done (for the main terminal),” said Hernandez. “Our main goal is to resume outbound service.”

Once passenger service is restored, Hernandez said they anticipate renovation work will proceed on other areas outside the main terminal to address termite and other issues to improve the safety of the facility….PACNEWS

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