A facelift of Bauerfield Airport’s international and domestic terminals is being planned by Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) to be ready for welcome to Port Vila of visitors and participants in the Pacific Mini Games in December this year.

Chairman of AVL Bakoa Kaltongga says, “While we are waiting for the World Bank to complete the process for evaluating the grading of Bauerfield International Airport runway to Code E standards, Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) is taking the initiative to do a facelift of Bauerfield international and domestic terminals at a cost of around Vt30 million.”

He says this money is allocated as a Stabex loan for capital investment which will allow AVL to prepare Bauerfield to be ready to welcome visitors to Vanuatu for the Pacific Mini Games in December this year.

Kaltongga explains that the expansion and refurbishment will see an enlargement of space in the arrival concourse and an increase in the number of immigration counters by an additional two to four to enable quicker servicing especially during the Games time, which will see an influx of number of people, especially the delegates of Pacific countries coming to participate in the Games.

“As part of readjustments, toilets will be removed from inside the essential areas to the periphery of the building and an uplift of the floor area especially through new tiling.

“The check-in lounge will see a facelift to match other improved areas of the terminal. There will also be a corridor run from the international airport to the VIP Lounge and on to the domestic terminal. This will allow people to walk under the covered walkway either way.

“Toilets inside the departure lounge will be removed and relocated in the periphery of the building along with toilets from inside the arrival and departure lounges.

“There will be an increased number of duty-free shops and separated walkways and transparent frames and glass with a framework that will enable to see inside the shops as they walk along the walkway.

“There is also consideration to improve the air conditioning and ventilation inside to make the terminal cooler especially during the warmer times,” Kaltongga explains.

The AVL Board has appointed a special projects committee and the chairman of the committee is the Vice Chairman of the Board, Adrian Sinclair. He will oversee the project to start immediately in March. The Board has endorsed a budget of Vt30 million initially to cover reconstruction including concrete works, steel frames and glass works.

“In addition to preparing for the Pacific Mini Games, the manner in which the World Bank is processing awarding the bid for the runway will not start in April as was earlier envisaged.

“Also we are awaiting the final design of the terminal, which is expected no later than March based on the Memorandum of Agreement Government signed with Chinese company CCECC, AVL is proceeding with the temporary reconstruction of the Bauerfield terminal for a start. And this should cater the Code E aircraft initially while progress on the World Bank-funded project continues,” AVL Chairman Kaltongga continued.

“Today, when you see two Boeing 737 aircrafts at the terminal, the area is congested, so the World Bank-funded project will enable the airport to accommodate a Code E aircraft.”

AVL has completed preliminary investigations, and a public tender will be announced for bids to be lodged from which a successful bidder will be chosen as the contractor to carry out the remodeling of Bauerfield Airport terminal.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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