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The Rise of Aviation in Vanuatu


Our colleagues over in Vanuatu have much to look forward to over the next coming weeks with new upgrades to their airports.

In 2016, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia cancelled services to the small Asia-Pacific nation. They cited safety issues at the Port Vila runway as the reason behind this. The World Bank quickly stepped in to negotiate a deal. In January this year, the Bank approved over $14 million to finance the large-scale ‘Vanuatu Aviation Infrastructure Project’.

The project aims to significantly improve the quality of the island country’s airports. We expect funds to address the dilapidation of pavements at Whitegrass and Pekoa airports. We also expect the runways at Bauerfield International Airport to expand. This will give the airport capacity to accommodate much larger aircraft for passengers. It will also upgrade the airport’s emergency capability. Planes will soon be able to land during any disaster that may hit.

Last year already saw many improvements. Runway repair at Bauerfield facilitated international aircraft travel. Safety systems were upgraded and contracts were awarded to companies for pavement design and emergency rescue.

Now, plans to further improve Bauerfield, the country’s main airport, is set to start at the end of August.

Vanuatu is being assisted through the broader Pacific Aviation Investment Program, a World Bank project that aims to upgrade aviation facilities in the small, developing nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Individual States have also been doing business with Vanuatu in the sector. Australia supports Vanuatu, currently through the $70 million+ Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility. Earlier this year, two Chinese firms signed contracts to upgrade Whitegrass, Pekoa and the upgrades at Bauerfield.

AvLaw Pty Ltd have top-qualified airport consultants working closely with Vanuatu. We conduct building height approvals, airspace reviews, aeronautical impact statements and other services critical to the construction and improvement of airports and large-scale infrastructure projects.

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