9 Aug 2016

Bids likely by October on Vanuatu runway work

9:10 am on 9 August 2016

The World Bank is hoping work can start on a comprehensive rehabilitation of Vanuatu's Bauerfield Airport by the beginning of next year.

Last week the runway required additional temporary patching on top of what was done in March and April.

An Air Vanuatu plane taking off

An Air Vanuatu plane taking off Photo: RNZI

The Bank's acting Pacific director, Lasse Melgard, said the latest problems are in a new area that had not been identified for emergency repair work earlier this year.

That work has been financed by the bank which is providing an interest free loan of $US59 million for a more permanent overhaul of the runway, lighting upgrades and other facilities.

He said they hope to be inviting bids for this work by October.

"We are looking at compressing the procurement processes as much as possible because it really is key to get this full rehabilitation under way," Mr Melgard said.

"If the process moves forward as fast as we are hoping, we would be able to award the contract in December and the contractor would then mobilise sometime early next year."

Some airlines have not used the airport for months because of the runway issues and last week Air Vanuatu was forced to stop services while more temporary repairs were needed.

Airport Vanuatu has claimed they have been misled over the repair process, but Mr Melgard, said the latest problems were not related to the earlier patch job.

"It's a new part of the runway and it's a part of the runway that we had not identified as one that was in major need of repair earlier this year, and it has actually deteriorated faster than we had anticipated," he said.

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