Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) has announced plans to invest Vt400 million to upgrade the airport terminals of Bauerfield in Port Vila and Pekoa in Luganville, Santo.
The Chairman of AVL, Bakoa Kaltongga, made the announcement to the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune, when members of the AVL board and management made the first repayment of a Vt60 million loan from the government.
“I wish to place on record that once payment of the loan is continuing, AVL is investing a portfolio of approximately Vt400 million over the next two to three years on the upgrades of terminals of Bauerfield which tenders have been announced and Pekoa next year.
“This work is coming in line with the decision of government to extend the runways to Code E standard for Bauerfield and Code D for Pekoa,” said Chairman Kaltongga who is also First Political Advisor of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.
He added that AVL engineers and designers will be working on this project after the tenders have been processed for the Bauerfield Airport work.
Minister of FEM Pikioune thanked AVL for investments made to help the aviation industry of the country and particularly in this case to develop facilities of airports after runway upgrades work being carried out is completed. The upgrades work is due to start soon carried out by contractors CCECC of China with funding from World Bank. And the work is due to end toward the end of 2018.
“The runway for Bauerfield is important for the tourism industry of the country. Similarly for Pakoa and Whitegrass Airport on Tanna,” said Minister Pikioune.
“Upgrading of Bauerfield to Code E standard has been a long story and we are looking forward to its final eventuality so the country can receive long haul flights.
“It is good to have a Code E airport, but the terminals also must be upgraded to cater for the need to handle long-haul flights.”
He pointed to another investment, which is for a new terminal for Bauerfield which the government is working on with AVL to include funding through the World Bank loan which “we are utilizing to assist with our airports development.”
“Economically, the development of these airports is very important to Vanuatu because on the day we have access to long haul flights, this will stimulate economic activities especially in the tourism industry which will help boost the country’s economy.”