Air New Zealand is satisfied that temporary repairs have restored the Bauerfield runway at Port Vila to a safe standard for it to consider charter jet operations.
The news will be welcomed by Vanuatu’s tourism industry, which is trying to recover after some international airlines stopped flying to the airport over runway concerns. Port Vila has been in the news this week for the wrong reasons, after a fatal head-on crash involving a local bus and a tour bus carrying passengers from P&O’s Pacific Dawn cruise ship.
After receiving a detailed debrief from the prime contractor and completing a physical inspection of the work, Air New Zealand said it was comfortable to potentially operate charter flights subject to Vanuatu Government approval.
As previously stated, Air New Zealand will consider resuming regular scheduled services to Vanuatu once a permanent solution for the runway at Bauerfield has been fully funded, designed to a satisfactory standard and contracted to a competent contractor, the airline said in a release. These steps would give Air New Zealand the necessary ongoing confidence in the infrastructure to make the investment required to resume scheduled services.
Following recent meetings in Port Vila with the Vanuatu Government and the Government’s Airports Taskforce, Air New Zealand is encouraged by the progress that is being made towards securing a permanent solution.
Edited by Peter Needham