25 Apr 2016

Vanuatu denies Air New Zealand charter flight

3:17 pm on 25 April 2016
Vanuatu's main international airport Bauerfield at Port Vila

Vanuatu's main international airport Bauerfield at Port Vila Photo: RNZI/Beverley Tse

Vanuatu has challenged Air New Zealand to be consistent, after hearing that it is planning a charter service to Port Vila this week while refusing to reinstate commercial services.

In January, the airline was joined by some others in cancelling flights over unsafe conditions at Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila.

Authorities in Vanuatu said remedial works had improved conditions ahead of a major World Bank-sponsored redevelopment this year.

The Minister of Public Utilities and Infrastructure Jotham Napat told Vanuatu's Civil Aviation Authority to deny the Air New Zealand charter flight for seasonal workers in and out of Port Vila this Thursday.

Mr Napat told the Daily Post the airline had to explain why it was willing to operate a profitable charter flight but not resume usual services.

He said the Vanuatu government, which was elected this year, made a commitment to immediately undertake emergency runway repairs, which have been completed and meet all safety requirements.