13 May 2017

Contract signed for Vanuatu airport upgrade

6:42 pm on 13 May 2017

Vanuatu's government has signed an agreement for rehabilitation works at the country's beleaguered international airport.

The contract was signed with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and its joint venture partner, Northwest Civil Construction Group.

Under the World Bank-funded upgrade, the work will see the runway, taxiway and aprons at the Port Vila airport reconstructed.

The upgrade was hurriedly negotiated last year, after Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia cancelled their servies to Vanuatu, citing safety concerns.

In a statement, the contractors say the first shipment of runway materials is due to arrive in early July, with machinery and equipment being shipped from China soon.

Vanuatu's infrastructure minister, Jotham Napat, says the government is committed to having the upgrade completed within 340 days to revive the tourism industry, which contributes over 40 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing for a second phase of the upgrade, which includes a new terminal at Port Vila and improvements to airports in Tanna and Santo.