18 Apr 2016

Vanuatu tourism invites return of Air New Zealand and Virgin

2:02 pm on 18 April 2016
Virgin Australia, Gold Coast.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Vanuatu tourism will be launching a major marketing push in New Zealand and Australia to coincide with today's completion of emergency repairs to the country's international airport.

The $US1.2 million dollar repair work, which began in late February, was carried out after safety concerns raised about the Bauerfield runway in January led to the suspension of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand flights to Port Vila.

The chairman of the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association said the industry suffered greatly from the suspension.

Bryan Death said he hoped both airlines were able to inspect the repairs and resume their services as soon as possible.

"It is pretty dire for tourism, especially the New Zealand market, which has been very very large here. And Vanuatu is about to launch some major TV commercials in both, next month, in New Zealand and Australia and we hope that by the time they hit the airwaves that in fact all the air services can be resumed."

The Vanuatu government is in talks with the World Bank regarding a $US55 million dollar loan granted for a full rehabilitation of the Bauerfield International Airport.

Air New Zealand's new fern livery on an Airbus A320 aircraft..

Air New Zealand's new fern livery on an Airbus A320 aircraft. Photo: AIR NEW ZEALAND