5 Aug 2014

Vanuatu government to upgrade airport

8:24 pm on 5 August 2014

The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, says the government is appointing a taskforce to look for ways to upgrade Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila as a matter of urgency.

This comes after a 350-million US dollar plan to develop a new airport was scrapped last week.

Mr Natuman says the government's immediate concern should be ensuring Bauerfield Airport is up to international standards, as if it is not, tourism could take a hit.

He says Vanuatu Trade Development Limited, which was awarded the contract to develop the new airport by the previous government, was also tasked with renovating Bauerfield Airport but did not follow through.

"The Singaporean company after they signed the agreement last year was supposed to resurface and refurbish the whole airport, but they haven't done it. Maybe they have done some feasibility studies but nothing yet on the ground. So this agreement has now expired, so we will have to get another group to fix our current airport."

Joe Natuman says the long-term plan is still to develop a new airport, but any future projects must be based on an aviation master plan.