15 Aug 2007

Partial Air Vanuatu sale expected within a year

12:59 pm on 15 August 2007

Vanuatu's deputy prime minister, Edward Natapei, says he expects the sale of the government's shares in Air Vanuatu to take about 12 months.

A subsidiary of the World Bank, the IFC, is to help the Vanuatu Government sell off ts part of the national airline.

The sale is part of the government's strategy to improve air services.

Mr Natapei says the decision is conditional on the IFC's study into the sale.

"The Government had decided to sell 46 percent of the shares of Air Vanuatu. We have engaged the IFC to do a study, they have a period of about 12 months to work on it and depending on the outcome of the study, it is possible for government to review the decision."

Mr Natapei says air transport links are critical to the success of other industries, such as tourism and high-value exports, while private sector investment is needed to boost services, create jobs, and generate economic growth.