Vanuatu’s share of airspace revenue increases — but Fiji still retains 93%

Pacific region Flight Information Regions (FIRs)

Pacific region Flight Information Regions (FIRs)

Vanuatu’s share of the upper airspace revenue has increased following the renegotiation of the Nadi Flight Information Region (FIR) revenue sharing agreement with Fiji. Joseph Niel, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu, paints the new agreement as a Vt50 million win for Vanuatu in Daily Post. The Nadi FIR includes the airspace of Vanuatu, part of Kiribati, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, but Fiji gets the lion’s share of revenue, up to 93% – while Vanuatu gets just 2.5%. Renegotiation of the agreement, long a thorn in the side of the Vanuatu Government, had been a priority. However, questions remain about why the revenue sharing calculation still gives Fiji such a large share when similar FIR revenue sharing agreements for nearby FIRs are seemingly far more equitable. For example, the Brisbane FIR, which covers the airspace of Solomon Islands and Nauru, gives 60% of revenue to the two island nations.

The name of the new High Commissioner to Vanuatu from New Zealand has been revealed. He is Jonathan Schwass, former Unit Manager in the South East Asia Division of the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In making the announcement, the NZ Minister, Gerry Brownie pointed out that Jonathan Schwass will “lead the delivery of NZ’s official development program here, helping to oversee the NZ$82 million (Vt6.2 billion) of investment over three years.” His predecessor Georgina Roberts will be missed.

The Vanuatu National Statistics Office has published its post-Pam Mini-Census Report showing a total population of 272,459, an increase of 38,436 since the 2009 census. We also learn from recent Statistics figures that international visitor arrivals by air totalled 8,935 in April, or 30% of total arrivals for the month. It is an increase of 47% over April 2016. Cruise ship visitors were 70% of total visitors in April 2017.