AfDB to Offer $ 135 Million for Airport Extension Project in Timor-Leste

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Presidente Nicolau Lobato Airport is located in Dili, Timor-Leste. Credit: Bahnfrend / Wikimedia.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has entered into a $ 135 million loan agreement with the government of Timor-Leste for the expansion of Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport (DIL).

The ADB loan will be used for the construction of a new air traffic control (ATC) tower, the extension of the runway and the reconfiguration of the relevant airside facilities.

The existing runway at the airport does not meet the safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The new project will improve security at the airport and is expected to support more airlines and passengers, as well as boost freight flows.

Located in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, Presidente Nicolau Lobato Airport is the main gateway to Timor-Leste, with 90% of arrivals coming from abroad.

The expansion of the airport will support Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030, which focuses on infrastructure development to enhance economic growth and reduce inequalities.

Before the March 2020 pandemic, Timor-Leste only witnessed regular direct flights to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Once completed, the project is expected to improve international connectivity while supporting Timor-Leste’s efforts to become part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN ) and other regional and global trade agreements.

Besides improving global connectivity, airport expansion is expected to boost trade, tourism, movement of labor and create new employment opportunities.

The operation and maintenance of the airport should be taken care of by the private sector.

AfDB Country Director in Timor-Leste, Sunil Mitra, said: “The Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport Expansion Project will provide safe and efficient air transport, improve the country’s connectivity and economic ties with local communities. neighboring countries in Asia and the Pacific, will improve trade, investment and tourism, which will facilitate economic diversification.

Last November, the AfDB agreed to provide a concessional loan of $ 150 million for major airport upgrades in Nepal.

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