16 Jan 2006

New Caledonia and Vanuatu to discuss air services agreement

4:13 pm on 16 January 2006

Vanuatu and France are reportedly looking at amending their air service agreement to allow direct flights between Noumea in New Caledonia and Tanna and Santo.

Vanuatu's Daily Post reports that discussions are likely to take place over the next few months.

The French Ambassador to Port Vila, Pierre Mayaudori, is keen to develop co-operation between the two countries to open up long awaited air routes to Whitesands, Tanna, and Pekoa in Santo from Noumea.

Mr Mayaudori says there are French-speaking people living in both Tanna and Santo and there were historical ties with New Caledonia that should be exploited.

Frustration has been rife over the lack of international flights into the islands.

But if the air services agreement covering ports of entry and passenger numbers is amended and Santo and Tanna can find funding to upgrade airports to meet international security requirements, it's possible that both islands will see the launch of direct flights from Noumea.