14 Aug 2013

Vanuatu villagers don't want airport in their backyard

12:52 pm on 14 August 2013

Residents of Vanuatu's biggest village are against government plans to upgrade the Bauerfield international airport near Port Vila and want it relocated.

The Chief of Mele village, Simeon Poilapa, says they already experience air pollution and hearing problems as a result of planes landing and taking off.

The Moana Carcasses-led coalition government has signed a controversial deal with a Singaporean company which may include an upgrade of Bauerfield or the construction of a new main airport and upgrades of others around the country.

Chief Poilapa says as the person responsible for a village of five thousand, his biggest concern is the increased risk of a plane crash.

"And this has happened already once or twice, when there's almost a plane crashing in the village. Just imagine how many people would be killed in this crash. With the extension of the current Bauerfield Airport I think it's not the right locations."

Simeon Poilapa says he supports the government plan to build a new international airport elsewhere.