Japan and Palau signed approximately 4.3 million USD grant contract to procure necessary airport equipment including 3 passenger boarding bridges
On 2 June 2023, Ambassador of Japan ORIKASA Hiroyuki and Minister of State Hon. Gustav N. Aitaro, signed a grant contract for “The Economic and Social Development Programme (FY2023)”. The signing ceremony was held at the VIP Lounge in Palau International Airport witnessed by Minister of Public Infrastructure & Industries Hon. Charles Obichang, Director of Bureau of Aviation Mr. Peter Polloi and President of Palau International Airport Corporation Mr. YOSHIDA Manabu and many distinguished guests.
As Palau is surrounded by pristine paradise, it has attracted many people from all over the world and tourism has been an important industry in Palau, accounting for approximately 60% of the country's GDP. However, in addition to the drastic decrease in the number of tourists following the outbreak of COVID-19, the ageing of the aviation equipment at Palau International Airport has hindered the smooth operation of aircraft, which has become an obstacle to the development of the tourism industry. This project is expected to contribute to the economic and social development of Palau through the provision of airport-related equipment (e.g. boarding bridges), thereby improving passenger arrivals and departures at Palau International Airport and developing the tourism industry.
Moreover, this project will also provide the necessary logistical support to resume direct flights between Japan and Palau as stated in the Japan-Palau Joint Statement issued in September last year, in which Prime Minister of Japan His Excellency KISHIDA Fumio and President of the Republic of Palau His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps affirmed that "the importance of mutually facilitating tourist traffic, including through actively pursuing the reinstatement of direct flights, for enhancing tourism cooperation."
In light of the urgent situation, the Government of Japan has decided to support the Government of Palau through the grant aid worth 4.3 million USD. Japan will provide three passenger boarding bridges, an air support unit (ASU), a ground power unit (GPU) and a diesel generator.
At the ceremony, Minister Obichang stated “On behalf of the Government of Palau, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for your numerous assistance to Palau.” Ambassador Orikasa stated, “It is my hope that this support will contribute not only to the revival of Palau's tourism industry, but also to the resumption of direct flights between Palau and Japan. For that purpose, I would like to ask the Government of Palau to maintain and manage the equipment to be provided.” Expressing his appreciation for Japan’s support, Minister Aitaro stated, “This project will enhance Palau’s connectivity and contribute to revive Palau’s tourism economy.”