18 Feb 2016

World Bank says Bauerfield runway repairs just start of work

5:42 pm on 18 February 2016

The World Bank says emergency repairs to the runway at Port Vila's international airport are just the start of a much-needed upgrade of the aviation sector there.

Air strip at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila

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

This week the Vanuatu government signed a contract with New Zealand company Fulton Hogan to carry out repairs to the runway at Bauerfield Airport.

Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin Australia had earlier suspended flights to the airport, citing concerns about the runway's safety.

The repairs will be funded out of a US$ 60 million World Bank loan.

The Bank's Senior Operations Officer, Lasse Melgard, said the money would also go towards a more permanent overhaul of the runway, lighting upgrades and work on the airports on Santo and Tanna islands as well.

"It also includes things like reform in the aviation sector, navigational aid and assistance in developing an aviation sector strategy, an airports masterplan.

"So it is a quite comprehensive programme of support for the aviation sector."