The Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV) has confirmed an army aircraft from the French military base in New Caledonia was recently spotted in Vanuatu’s airspace.
Director of CAAV, Jackie Langati Trief, said there was only one aircraft but it entered Vanuatu’s airspace twice.
She was made aware of the aircraft on Friday last week but it was already late.
“I was made aware of the flight but they were already on their way to Port Vila.
“No flight approval was requested from CAAV,” she said.
Director Trief said the French army aircraft didn’t respect the current state of emergency imposed by Vanuatu, following the COVID crisis and has violated COVID-19 protocols.
She said CAAV has informed the Government of Vanuatu, through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kalfau Kaloris said he had summoned the French Ambassador, Pierre Fournier, over the incident on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are currently addressing the issue through diplomatic channels,” said Kaloris.
There no clear information about the purpose of this flight into Vanuatu’s airspace but a reliable source told Daily Post yesterday afternoon that the French military were conducting exercises for their pilots.
Vanuatu gets assistance from the French army in New Caledonia in terms of surveillance of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but only when requested.