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 Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu mulls import ban on plastic bags and bottles

Vanuatu PM Salwai says Govt is looking at implementing a plastic ban – please show your support by signing this petition!

PM Salwai says Govt is looking at implementing a ban – please show your support by signing this petition!

Almost all of us, whether urban or rural, knows Port Vila to be considered a place of great beauty, praised by visitors from overseas and locals alike. And it is being made more and more attractive all the time with the Seafront development and Fatumaru Bay project, which will bring the tourists in. There is really good news ahead: the Prime Minister has committed Vanuatu to a ban on plastic bags and bottles. In his Independence Day speech, PM Salwai recognised the efforts of a number of concerned individuals who started the No Plastik Bag Plis campaign so very recently. A paper and online version of this petition for stronger regulation to minimise plastic pollution still needs signatures, and Vanuatu Digest encourages everyone to sign. Luganville is also intended as a municipal partner in this project. And it is hoped it can become a nationwide campaign. Vanuatu will likely become the first island country in the Pacific region to implement a policy like this. (Daily Post)

PM Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, also in his official Independence Day speech, once again repeated the mantra that Vanuatu could not really be free until every country seeking independence in the Pacific is truly Read the rest of this entry »

New hydrographic maps produced of three Tanna harbours

File photo of Lenakel wharf, Tanna. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/PhillipC

File photo of Lenakel wharf, Tanna. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/PhillipC

New hydrographic survey maps of three harbours on Tanna have been completed. They have been done, Radio Vanuatu said, because of the tourist potential of the areas concerned. Lowanatom in the west and Waisisi and Sulphur Bay in the east are the ports. The British Government has funded the survey work, and British High Commissioner David Ward (based in Honiara) said safety in the sea, protection of the marine environment and national development will be enhanced through the availability of the survey. George Borugu, as acting director for tourism, spoke of the huge potential for cruise tourism to these Tannese ports. (VBTC)

The bodies of three ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers who died in a Read the rest of this entry »

Govt announces list of legislation to be debated at first 2017 sitting of Parliament

Vanuatu Parliament

Parliament meets in a fortnight, on Thursday 1 June. This will be the first ordinary sitting for 2017. Nine government Bills are will be debated, including Read the rest of this entry »

NASA analysis shows more than 624mm of rain fell on northern islands during Cyclone Donna

The video above from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows rainfall during Cyclone Donna as it crossed northern Vanuatu between May 2 and May 10. Extreme rainfall exceeding 624mm is shown in purple. Aerial reconnaissance has revealed damage to villages, buildings and crops in the Torres and Banks islands from cyclonic winds, extreme rainfall and storm surges.

At last: the agreement to start the Bauerfield runway works has been signed by  Read the rest of this entry »

Cyclone Donna turns to southeast; future path and intensity unclear

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

As of the latest cyclone warning #16 from the Vanuatu Meteorology Dept, at 3pm today Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Donna was about 80km NNW of the Torres Islands and 215km NW of Gaua, moving slowly in a southeast direction at 5km/h. Central pressure is 954 hPa. Winds at the centre were estimated to be 145km/h gusting to 205km/h. Schools have been told to close in the northern provinces. The image above shows damage from Cyclone Donna to a school on Vanua Lava.

Most meteorological forecast models predict Cyclone Donna will take a path away from Vanuatu’s islands and will weaken over the next three days as it heads southeast. However, this cyclone is very slow moving and could change direction and intensity at any time, so please prepare for the worst. This is still a very dangerous cyclone, and it will bring destructive storm surges, flooding and heavy rain even if it doesn’t make landfall. We’ll keep you updated here. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese bidder CCECC awarded Bauerfield International airport upgrade contract

Port Vila's Bauerfield international airport

The Bauerfield runway upgrades go to CCECC: it’s official. There had been disagreements between the World Bank and Government, but the World Bank is happy the processes have now followed the appropriate procurement procedures. It adds “the good news now is that all bidders have been formally notified of the completion of the evaluation process, with contract negotiations to be scheduled by the government in thew coming days.” CCECC is well-known in Vanuatu for a number of big projects, from roads to the new Korman sports facilities being constructed for the Mini Games. (Daily Post)

The Bauerfield runway repair delay is holding up the codesharing agreement with Qantas, it seems. Air Vanuatu CEO Joseph Laloyer says the codesharing Read the rest of this entry »