Now Virgin Australia have suspended flights to Vanuatu! Virgins last flight to Port Vila is today!
Virgin wants to be more confident the runway at Port Vila’s airport can be maintained properly before flights will recommence.
The runway issue applies only to international jet aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 operated by Air Vanuatu, or the Airbus A320, which Air New Zealand used for its Port Vile service. The ATR, Twin Otter and Islander planes are still considered safe to land at this time.
So, Air Vanuatu, Solomon Airlines and Fiji Airways are still flying into Port Vila.
We are flying with Air Vanuatu to Port Vila next week … wish us luck!!! If Air Vanuatu stop flights, we are not sure when our next visit to our little piece of paradise will be!
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV) reported it had directed the airport operator to act on measures required by airlines to ensure jet operations could continue safely. CAAV Director Joseph Niel said, “It is a fact that the runway is urgently due a resurfacing or repair and this was further exacerbated by the effects of the recent Tropical Cyclone Pam”.
The World Bank signed a USD$59.5 million credit agreement with the Vanuatu government in May 2015, but it has been suggested a former Prime Minister of Vanuatu pulled out of the deal! Without knowing the terms of the deal, and if the loan was viable or not for the Vanuatu government, the current situation is a devastating outcome for the citizens of Vanuatu. The cancellations for holiday makers planning to visit Port Vila will have a huge impact for the local economy that relies on tourism to provide income for local workers.
World Bank country director for the pacific, Franz Drees-Gross confirmed on Radio New Zealand that the loan is still on the table. A World Bank delegation is due to visit Vanuatu in the next week.
Let’s hope they can get the heads together and sort this issue out.
To complicate matters, general elections were held on Friday 22 January 2016. Intense situation for the newly elected Prime Minister to walk into.
Interesting time ahead for the local Vanuatu citizens, businesses and politicians. And this is before you take into account tourists, or our development at Mangaliliu called “divi’s”.