PORT VILA, ( VANUATU DAILY POST) – A bilateral deal negotiated between New Guinea and Vanuatu in the corridors of the PALM 7 meeting in Japan may get into air shortly.
Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea discussed the air space between and potential investments between Port Moresby and Port Vila and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill suggested connecting the two Melanesian Countries by air.
Air New Guinea could use one of its planes to start operations between the two countries before the end of the year.
And as PNG is hosting the South Pacific Games in July this year after Cyclone Pam ravaged parts of Vanuatu the PNG PM told Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman “the games will not be successful without Vanuatu’s participation” at their bilateral meeting political commentators believe the deal to take wings will pick up around that time.
PNG and Vanuatu have a long traditional and diplomatic ties with the former asked by Vanuatu Prime Minister Walter Hade Lini, the first late Vanuatu PM, to bring its military troops to quell the Santo uprising by Jimmy Stevens around Independence in 1980.
The highway that passes through the heart of Port Vila, used to be named Kumul Highway, in recognition of the efforts by the PNG Kumul Force who brought to instil law and order in young nation that won its Independence.
Current PM Natuman wants the name Kumul maintained so that Vanuatu’s children tomorrow always remember that if it was not for the Kumul Forces, the struggle for self-determination would have been painted in blood.
Meanwhile, Air Vanuatu to lease out one ATR aircraft as industry recovers.
Air Vanuatu has announced it will continue to operate according to its reduced post-Cyclone Pam schedule for the remainder of 2015.
“Whilst it is encouraging to note that booking trends are improving, it is still a long way from the pre-Pam forecasts and as such we are matching capacity to demand,” chief executive officer Joseph Laloyer said.
“With two of our major hotels in Vila not expected to reopen for business until December, the available room inventory has been a major limiting factor.
“It is therefore probably good timing our Boeing 737-800 will shortly be due for its C-Check (major service) and will depart on 24 August,” Laloyer said.
The aircraft is expected to be away for up to four weeks and during that time, Air Vanuatu has leased a similar Boeing 737-800.
Code-share partners Qantas, Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand have been notified of the service and were requested to provide assistance with charter aircraft along with several other carriers.