18 Apr 2016

Vanuatu says airport repair works completed

7:20 am on 18 April 2016
Air strip at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila

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

Vanuatu's government says emergency repair works at the country's international airport should be finished by today.

In January, Air New Zealand, Qantas and Virgin Australia announced they were suspending flights to the country over safety concerns about the runway at Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport.

The airlines' announcement saw the country's new government scramble to re-negotiate a World Bank loan to carry out emergency repairs in time for peak tourist season.

Three months later, the government says New Zealand contractor Fulton Hogan has finished repairing most of the asphalt, and minor crack sealing and line markings would be done over the weekend.

Fulton Hogan's national airports manager, Jim Parsons, said the team had worked tirelessly to ensure the work was completed as quickly as possible.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean international airlines will come back to Vanuatu any time soon.

Last week, Air New Zealand said it wouldn't consider flying there again until a permanent solution for the runway had been fully funded, designed to a satisfactory standard and contracted to a competent contractor.

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