Vanuatu Daily Post
Air Van suspends Pekoa international services
By Marc Neil - Jones
Air Vanuatu has announced the suspension of international services into Pekoa airport due to safety concerns.
A 14-page risk assessment report produced by the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) has identified a number of safety issues which have left us with no choice but to suspend operations immediately, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer said.
We very much regret this decision particularly at a time when our loads in to Santo have been so good however we cannot and will not put our passengers, our staff or our aircraft at risk.
Elevated concerns regarding emergency response equipment and growth of nearby trees at Pekoa and increased bird strikes led Air Vanuatu to request a thorough assessment by CAAV.
Now that we have received this report, we have a legal obligation to suspend services to Santo, Mr Laloyer said.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Simeon Athy said responsible government authorities must urgently address the issues at Pekoa airport before services can resume.
We must act on these findings immediately and address all identified risk factors, he said.
Air Vanuatu advised passengers booked on international services to and from Santo would be re-accommodated on domestic flights from Port Vila.
We remain committed to Santo as an international destination, with good loads and every indication of further growth, this decision is indeed regrettable, but absolutely necessary, Mr. Athy said.
Air Vanuatu will work closely with the authorities to ensure corrective action is taken and is committed to resuming international services to Santo once acceptable safety levels are restored.