17 Feb 2016

Fulton Hogan contracted to repair Vanuatu's Bauerfield Airport

4:41 pm on 17 February 2016

The Vanautu government has today signed a contract with New Zealand company Fulton Hogan to carry out emergency repairs to the runway at Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport.

Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin Australia last month stopped flying to the airport, citing concerns about the runway's safety.

The new government met for the first time last week, where one of its first tasks was to attempt to fix the runway situation.

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Photo: 123 RF

The new minister of public utilities, Jotham Napat, said the repair work should begin in mid-March.

"The runway itself requires rapid maintenance, some patches towards the end of the runway. So we have contracted this company to come and bring up the Bauerfield Airport to the required standard, so we can cater for flights from Australia and New Zealand that have been withdrawn from coming to Port Vila."

Mr Napat said once the patching up is completed, the government will look for more long-term solutions.

This initial repair work is expected to cost US$1.2 million, and will be paid for from a larger World Bank loan for the airport redevelopment.