19 Apr 2016

Virgin prepared to resume flights to Vanuatu

1:25 pm on 19 April 2016

Virgin Australia says it is prepared to start flying to Vanuatu again, pending an independent assessment of emergency repairs to the Port Vila runway and a long term government commitment to maintain the infrastructure.

Virgin Australia, Gold Coast.

A Virgin Australia plane. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The US$1.2 million repair work, which began in late February, was carried out after safety concerns about the runway in January led to the suspension of all Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand flights.

Works to repair the runway were completed on Monday, with the New Zealand contractor Fulton Hogan completed resurfacing work, crack sealing and line markings.

The Vanuatu government has negotiated a World Bank loan for more permanent overhaul of the runway and lighting upgrades.

However, Air New Zealand last week said it would not resume flights to Port Vila until proposals for the US$55 million upgrade were finalisted and a competent contractor engaged for the project.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Virgin Australia said it was prepared to recommence flights pending an independent assessment of the repairs and a long-term government commitment to maintain the infrastructure.

Virgin's online booking engines are now showing flights to Port Vila available from the 23rd of May.

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