Larger aircraft to be able to land at Bauerfield, thanks to additional funds from World Bank for Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project

The World Bank's Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project will enable long-haul Code E aircraft such as Boeing's 787 (above) to use Bauerfield International Airport

The World Bank’s Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project will enable larger, long-haul Code E aircraft such as Boeing’s 787 (above) to use Bauerfield International Airport. Photo: Boeing

The World Bank announced USD 14 million (Approx. Vt 1.5 billion) in additional funding to strengthen air transport and an expansion of works under the Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project yesterday. Vanuatu’s Finance Minister Gaeton Pikioune says “the works we are undertaking with the World Bank are critical to ensuring a safe and reliable aviation sector. The government requested the additional support in order to ensure works can continue, along with expanded upgrades at Bauerfield International Airport, to enable larger aircraft to land”. The new funding will help Government address pavement deterioration at Whitegrass (Tanna) and Pekoa (Santo) airports, while works at Bauerfield, Port Vila, will help accommodate Code E aircraft and ensure all planned operations continue for the remaining three years of work. Already there has been benefit with the emergency runway repairs, provision of rescue and fire fighting services and an improvement to safety and quality management systems. “Aviation is absolutely critical to Vanuatu’s economy, providing essential transport links for tourism, trade and disaster response and recovery,” said the World Bank’s country Director for the Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf. “This additional funding will enable us to continue supporting the government to make flying safer and more reliable for locals and visitors alike.”

Vanuatu’s offshore financial centre has been blacklisted by oil-rich central Asian nation Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani citizens are banned from registering securities dealerships based in Vanuatu and a number of other offshore centres around the world, according to the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). A Russian news website reports that in 2014, US$50 billion (Vt 5.4 trillion) was trafficked out of Azerbaijan into offshore tax havens. A Sydney meeting on 23 January will assist with Vanuatu’s efforts to improve the offshore financial centre’s diminished standing in the global community. (Daily Post, RNZI)

Daily Post today farewells Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer and thanks him for his positive role in pushing Vanuatu forward economically, socially and technically with developments as regards culture, women’s and youth affairs, sports, maritime matters, policing, education and tourism. Jeremy Bruer’s continuous assistance in the  aftermath of Cyclone Pam is singled out for special mention. And all journalists recall his door always remaining open for the media. Daily Post urges the Bruer to come back and visit Vanuatu one day. Ms Jenny Da Rin takes over the posting today.

The Mele Cascades story has taken a small step further in that Evergreen Limited are still operating, but the cascades are, like all of us, waiting for rain. (Daily Post)