23 Jan 2016

Air Vanuatu to continue flying despite runway damage

9:24 pm on 23 January 2016

Air Vanuatu says it's putting extra precautions in place after concerns were raised about the safety of the airport runway at Port Vila.

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Photo: AFP

Air New Zealand has suspended flights to Vanuatu's capital, saying the runway has gradually deteriorated, with loose material on the surface making it unsafe for jet aircraft.

Qantas has also suspended its code-sharing flights with Air Vanuatu, and Virgin Australia is sending experts to assess the runway.

But Air Vanuatu said extra safety precautions, including daily sweeping and regular inspections, were now in place until the runway can be permanently repaired.

The precautions meant jet operations can continue at the airport in the meantime, the airline said.

Vanuatu Hotel & Resorts Association president Bryan Death said earlier today that the suspension of flights could be catastrophic to the local economy.

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