The Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project (VAIP) remains the top priority project of the Vanuatu Government.
“This is why we are anxious to see its successful completion before the end of the year,” Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Jotham Napat, conveyed at the recent groundbreaking for commencement of Surface Enrichment Treatment (SEST) works at Whitegrass Airport, Tanna.
“I wish to emphasize the government keenly looks forward to the successful completion of this, and the other two key airport infrastructures at Bauerfield and Pekoa —both under the VAIP, which are funded by the World Bank.”
Minister Napat described the groundbreaking as another important milestone in the development of TAFEA province.
He said Tanna and TAFEA as a whole play a key role in the economic development of the country.
“Tanna has a lot of potential as a key tourism destination in Vanuatu,” he said.
“The groundbreaking marks the commencement of SEST works on the runway, and also improvement of the taxiway.
“This work is very important, as it will extend the lifespan of the airport until such time the airport can be upgraded to Code-C level, the same level as Bauerfield.”
This, he said, means Whitegrass Airport will be able to accommodate full ATR flights, which currently have some restrictions and even accommodate 737 aircrafts in the future.
“I believe if we hold hands together and support the government, we can achieve the country’s ultimate dream to raise living standards, and address critical issues such as unemployment and poverty,” said minister Napat.
The minister acknowledged donor partners and funding agencies such as the World Bank, for recognizing the government’s priorities and stepping in to help.