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Air New Zealand suspends Vanuatu flights over runway safety concerns

Friday 22nd January 2016

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Air New Zealand is suspending services between Auckland and Vanuatu due to concerns about the deteriorating condition of the runway at Port Vila International Airport.

General manager flight operations Stephen Hunt said the airline had decided to suspend services before the situation becomes unsafe and it will use additional safety measures to operate one more return service between Auckland and Vanuatu this Sunday to repatriate customers on the Pacific Island.

Air New Zealand flies one service weekly to Vanuatu and codeshares with Air Vanuatu on its twice-weekly service.

Customers who have already booked flights to Vanuatu can change their booking to another Pacific or Tasman destination or receive a full refund.

The Vanuatu government signed a US$59.5 million credit agreement with the World Bank in June last year to improve the safety and efficiency of its aviation sector.

The project was for key infrastructure for Vanuatu’s three international airports and included US$3.8 million for emergency reconstruction for airport damage from Cyclone Pam, which killed 11 people and left thousands homeless in March 2015.

Air New Zealand's shares rose 1.4 percent to $3.16 in trading on the NZX today.

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