Bonriki International Airport – Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati
Located in the central Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is a nation of 33 pristine atolls and reef islands that attract tourists for fishing, birdwatching, scuba diving and other outdoor activities. The republic contains about 100,000 permanent residents spread over more than 864 million acres (3.5 million square kilometers). Less than 200,000 acres is land.
Located on South Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital and most populated area, Bonriki International Airport is the hub of the only two Kiribati airlines: Air Kiribati and Coral Sun Airways. Beginning in August 2017, Solomon Airlines and Air Kiribati will operate a new service from Brisbane, Australia, to Bonriki Airport in Tarawa, Kiribati, via Honiara, in the Solomon Islands. The aviation partnership between Solomon Airlines and Air Kiribati aims to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and encourage strong, prosperous economies for both nations.
Sitting about 9 feet (3 meters) above sea level on a coral atoll, Bonriki Airport contains one runway—a challenge when attempting to increase the number of arrivals and departures per day. An Australian-based distributor of Flash Technology solar airport lighting solutions, Orion Solar, outfitted the government of Kiribati with 107 runway lights and 41 taxiway lights, allowing the airport to add safe evening flights.
The solution was ordered in May 2017 and operating by mid-June—one of the fastest implementations of airfield lighting in the world. Our solar-powered airfield lights do not require trenching, saving significant time as well as costs related to electrical equipment and crews. Trenching would also have been difficult or impossible with the hard-coral ground, which is best not disturbed due to groundwater issues.
In addition to easy installation, easy maintenance was also a necessity. The lights are built tough to last in remote locations without requiring frequent battery changes or costly, complex repairs.
The new flight service leaves Brisbane every Wednesday, stopping in Honiara before arriving in Tarawa, and makes the return journey every Thursday. More evening flights—like this one, which arrives at 8 PM in Tarawa—are made possible with proper runway lights that allow for safe arrivals and departures at any time of day or night.