5 Feb 2016

Vanuatu caretaker govt seeks to finance runway repairs

7:49 pm on 5 February 2016

Vanuatu's caretaker government has sought an emergency loan from its national bank and reaffirmed its commitment to a World Bank loan to upgrade the country's international airport.

Port Vila international airport

Port Vila international airport Photo: RNZ

Last month, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin Australia suspended flights to Port VIla because of fears about the safety of the runway at Bauerfield Airport.

Air Vanuatu continues to operate services.

The US$59.5 million World Bank loan stalled last year, when the Sato Kilman government instead sought a deal with a Chinese company that never eventuated.

But in a letter on Friday, Mr Kilman, said the caretaker government was committed to the loan, and while the paperwork was being completed it would seek a zero interest loan from the National Bank of Vanuatu.

Mr Kilman said the money was was urgently needed so patching of the runway could begin immediately.

Parliament will sit for the first time next Thursday, where one of its first acts will be to elect a new prime minister after last month's snap election.

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