Vanuatu Off The Air, Tourism In Crisis

Vanuatu tourism is in crisis with Virgin Australia joining Air New Zealand in pulling its flights due to safety concerns over the haphazard runway at Port Vila international airport.

Virgin will run one more service tomorrow to pick up passengers before indefinitely suspending its thrice weekly return services between Brisbane and the South Pacific nation.

Port Vila Airport Vanuatu

Qantas last week suspended its code-share arrangement with local carrier Air Vanuatu, which will continue using the contentious runway experts say needs resurfacing to make it safe.

Solomon Airlines and Fiji Airways are also still servicing the destination.

The runway has been a long-running issue that the local government and airport authorities have failed to deal with.

Radio New Zealand is reporting that the World Bank has offered to assist with a USD60m ‘soft loan’to rehabilitate the runway but was rebuffed by the Vanuatu Govt led by Sato Kilman.

World Bank country director for the Pacific, Franz Drees-Gross, told Radio New Zealand the loan, “it’s still on the table.

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