Air New Zealand is suspending services between Auckland and Vanuatu in light of on-going concerns about the condition of the runway at Port Vila International Airport.
General Manager Flight Operations Stephen Hunt said:
“The condition of the runway at Port Vila has been gradually deteriorating and we have taken the difficult decision to suspend services before the situation becomes unsafe.”
Air New Zealand will operate one more return service between Auckland and Vanuatu on Sunday in order to repatriate customers, supported by additional safety measures.
Air New Zealand technical experts are currently being deployed to Port Vila to provide additional oversight for Sunday’s arrival into and departure from Port Vila International Airport.
Customer Care spokesperson Debbie McKeown said:
“We know this will inconvenience customers but safety comes first”.
“Unfortunately we will only be able to carry customers who are completing a return journey on Sunday’s flights. We have put a comprehensive customer plan in place. We will make contact with customers who’ve booked directly with Air New Zealand to explain their options. Customers who’ve booked through a travel agent should make contact with their travel arranger. All customers will have the option of changing their booking to another Pacific or Tasman destination or receiving a full refund.”
Air New Zealand has been operating to Vanuatu once a week and codesharing with Air Vanuatu on its twice weekly Auckland-Vanuatu services. Today’s decision affects Air New Zealand operated services and codeshare bookings made via Air New Zealand on Air Vanuatu operated services.
At the same time, Qantas announced that it has halted its codeshare with Air Vanuatu over runway concerns.
“Due to concerns over the condition of the runway at Port Vila International Airport in Vanuatu, Qantas is suspending its codeshare agreement with Air Vanuatu effective immediately”, the Australian airline said in a statement.