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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Vanuatu refuses Air New Zealand's 'one off' charter flight request

Vanuatu's Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure Jotham Napat has directed the country's civil aviation authority (CAAV) to deny an Air New Zealand charter flight carrying seasonal workers back to Port Vila on 28 April.

The government has questioned Air New Zealand’s stance on refusing to commit to regular commercial services carrying visitors sighting concerns with the runway, yet has no apparent concerns to operate a charter flight carrying Ni-Vanuatu workers.

“CAAV has updated all airlines with the completed works at Bauerfield airport and has been pleased with the response from all airlines except for Air New Zealand,” Minister Napat said.

“Virgin Australia has flown personnel over to inspect the completed works this week and we expect them to return to scheduled services next month. It is regrettable that Air New Zealand has not done the same, yet continues to refuse to operate commercial services.”

Minister Napat said the government is seeking a commitment from Air New Zealand to resume commercial services and until such commitment is received, charter services from the airline will not be accepted.

“The Salwai government made a commitment to immediately undertake emergency repairs to Bauerfield airport once elected. Those works have been completed and meet all safety requirements for airlines to resume jet services in to Port Vila.

“We have updated Air New Zealand on the completed works yet they refuse to commit to scheduled services. To apply for a charter using an Airbus A320 indicates they are satisfied with the state of the runway – so the question must be asked, why are they willing to operate a profitable charter flight, yet not commit to resuming commercial services?” the Minister said.

In a letter from Air New Zealand to CAAV, the airline acknowledged the ramifications of decisions to suspend services and stated ‘providing a safe and secure operation is our priority and there can be no exceptions in this regard’.

“Yet despite their ‘no exceptions’ rule, Air New Zealand wishes to operate a commercially profitable charter flight. The government has denied their application and instead encourages such charters to be operated by airlines committed to the destination, said Minister Napat.


Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 3:38 PM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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