30 Oct 2014

Doubt cast on Vanuatu airport upgrade

4:43 pm on 30 October 2014
Port Vila international airport

Port Vila international airport Photo: RNZ

An aviation expert working with a Singaporean company that wants to undertake a huge airport development in Vanuatu, says a long term upgrade of Bauerfield International Airport is not feasible.

This comes as the Vanuatu Government seeks advice from the World Bank on how to make urgent repairs to the Bauerfield runway.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Aviation engineer, Victor Craig, is the chair of Leading Edge Aviation Planning Professionals, part of the consortium with the Singaporean company Vanuatu Trade Development Ltd. The consortium plans a 350 million US dollar development that would give it control of the airport for 50 years. It had a commitment from the previous Vanuatu Government but few details have been made public and the new Government now wants to repair Bauerfield instead. In a statement Mr Craig says an extension of Bauerfield is unworkable and if a cosmetic asphalt layer is put on the runway it will be a waste of money. He says Bauerfield also does not meet international aviation requirements, because obstacles, such as hills and buildings, are too near the runway. Mr Craig says Vanuatu has an opportunity to redefine its travel and tourism capacity and to access the greater economic benefits that will bring."