23 Jan 2016

Airlines pull Vanuatu services due to runway concerns

10:55 am on 23 January 2016

Concerns about the condition of Vanuatu's international runway in Port Vila has led to two major airlines suspending services.

Qantas has announced it has suspended its codeshare with Air Vanuatu effective immediately, and will no longer sell Air Vanuatu's flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Port Vila on its website.

A Qantas spokesperson says the airline is continuing its assessment of the situation and the options for customers who have commenced travel or who are booked on returning services.

Air New Zealand yesterday suspended all flights to and from Vanuatu because of the condition of the runway at the Bauerfield international airport.

It says it will take passengers who are already in Vanuatu home on a final flight tomorrow, and refund people who have booked flights.

The airline said technical experts would be in Port Vila to oversee Sunday's arrival and departure.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson says the airline, which flies from Brisbane to Port Vila, will send safety experts to the airport over the weekend to inspect the runway.

Air Vanuatu says it's also reviewing the situation, and will make a decision within days.

Air strip at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila

Air strip at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades