A ceremony to inaugurate the Suai Airport, conducted on the 20th of June, marks the completion of a major infrastructure project set to support national development. The airport, located in the municipality of Covalima and about 15 kilometres from the town of Suai, includes a 1,500-metre runway and new airside and landside facilities.
The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. Francisco Lu-Olo Guterres, officially cut the ribbon and signed the inauguration plaque to open the “Commander in Chief of FALINTIL, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, International Airport”. This occasion also honored the 71st birthday of Minister Gusmão, who commended the airport as an outstanding project that would create investment, opportunities and jobs.
The ceremony included welcoming remarks given by the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communication, H.E. Gastão de Sousa, and the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, H.E. Alfredo Pires. The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo was in attendance along with other representatives of the Government, members of National Parliament, Veterans, Clergy, Local Leaders and Officials. The airport was blessed by the Bishop of Maliana, Don Norberto do Amaral.
The facilities include a new terminal building, control tower, fire station, meteorological station and a helipad with Medivac air ambulance facilities. The need to extend and refurbish the old Suai runway and build new modern facilities was identified in the national Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.
The airport allows for increased national connectivity and will promote the ongoing development of the South Coast by supporting activities related to petroleum and minerals, agriculture and tourism. It will also assist in the delivery of services in areas such as health and security. This facility and associated development in the South Coast reflect the Government’s commitment to support growth throughout the territory of Timor-Leste.
Spokesperson, Minister of State Agio Pereira, noted “the inauguration of the ‘Commander in Chief of FALINTIL, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, International Airport’ is an example of a major project, constructed with quality in a timely fashion. We congratulate the Ministries involved and Timor Gap E.P. for their role. This facility serves immediate needs on the South Coast, supports ongoing development and will be key to realizing the growth potential of the region.”.