Landowners ask Gov’t to relocate Norsup Airport

Norsup Airport. Credit: Jean Buet

Several landowners on Malekula want the Government to relocate the Norsup Airport because of land disputes.

This was revealed in Parliament yesterday afternoon by the Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Christophe Emelee, in his response to a question raised by Malekula MP Gracia Shadrach, on the progress of what the government is doing to address the dilapidated state of the Norsup Terminal and Airport.

Minister Emelee said the Government has prioritized five airports.

These are: Pekoa - Santo, Whitegrass - Tanna; Norsup -Malekula; Lonorore- Pentecost and Mota Lava Airport.

Minister Emelee said only “four were happy the Government is trying its best to upgrade the airports”.

“On Malekula, we are trying our best to look at the Norsup Airport, as it is one of the government’s priorities,” Minister Emelee said.

“I went there twice with engineers but I have just received some strongly worded letters from several landowners, who want the Government to relocate the Norsup Airport to Unmet.

“The letters are on my desk. The said landowners say there are too many disputes over the Norsup Airport.”

The Minister said he will be discussing the matter with his colleague MPs from Malekula to ascertain the way forward.

“We already have a priority which is Norsup, and I understand there are no more disputes.”

In September 2017, the President of the MALAMPA Provincial Government Council (MPGC), Norbert Nugbem, informed Climate Change Minister Ham Lini and then Minister of Internal Affairs Alfred Maoh, during a tour to Malekula that the government can now proceed with plans to expand the airport because land disputes on the land have been solved by conflicting parties.

In response Minister Maoh said the landowners must first resolve disputes, to which President Nugbem stressed the land disputes have been solved and all they need is funding to expand the airport.

He added the Norsup Airport expansion is an important part of the MPGC’s strategic plan.

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