ADB approves US$135 million loan for Timor-Leste airport

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced its approval of a US$135 million loan to help Timor-Leste expand its national gateway airport.

As part of this project, the funds will be used to extend the runway, construct a new air traffic control tower with proper reconfiguration of relevant facilities on the airside. 

The goal of this expansion is to make the airport a lot safer, as well as make it more attractive to other airlines. This will in turn increase traffic, both of passengers and of cargo.

“The Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport Expansion Project will provide safe and efficient air transport, enhance the country’s connectivity and economic ties with neighbouring Asia and Pacific countries, and improve trade, investment, and labour movement,” ADB transport specialist Chaorin Shim says.

The project is part of a bigger plan by the government, tagged “2011–2030 Strategic Development Plan”. The plan is aimed at prioritizing infrastructure development as a way of fostering economic growth and reducing inequality. 

The airport, located in Dili, serves as the main gateway to Timor-Leste, with over passengers accounting for over 90% of its total count. Owing to its short runway, the airport has had to limit the number of direct flights in the region, and is connected to just three countries: Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore. 

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