14 Aug 2014

Vanuatu airport committee appointed

1:09 pm on 14 August 2014

The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, has appointed a 16-member committee to look into upgrading Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila as a matter of urgency.

This comes after parliament scrapped a controversial plan for major new airport developments, which involved a 350 million US dollar contract with Singapore-based company, Vanuatu Trade Development Limited.

Mary Baines reports.

"Mr Natuman says the committee is bipartisan, comprising parliamentarians, members from the public service and private sector representatives. He says it is a very important government project that requires input of everyone concerned. The new taskforce will be chaired by the Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, Johnson Naviti, and is to source funds as a matter of urgency to repair Bauerfield. It will also have to find the means to refund Vanuatu Trade Development Limited, which lost the contract to develop the new airport and is claiming 31 million US dollars in losses. Mr Natuman says he wants VTDL to itemise its expenses to make its claims."