Repairs to Port Vila’s Bauerfield airport runway begin

Finally under way – the contractors' truck on the tarmac at Bauerfield earlier this week

Finally under way – the contractors’ truck on the tarmac at Bauerfield earlier this week

This news just in from the Vanuatu Government’s Project Management Unit:

Fulton Hogan, the contractor awarded the contract in February to carry out emergency repairs at Bauerfield have shipped in their first load of equipment and materials to begin works. 

The boats carrying supplies arrived early last week and were cleared by Customs and Inland Revenue by close of business Friday 4th of March.

Fulton Hogan is on track to complete the emergency repairs on schedule, allowing Bauerfield to resume full operations and regain the confidence of airlines that ceased flying in last month due to concerns over the condition of the runway.

The first two shipments contain plant, equipment, bitumen emulsion and paint materials for the Surface Enrichment Sprayed Treatment (SEST).

Fulton Hogan performed trials of the surface enrichment treatment on March 8th and 9th on the runway and are determined to get the works started as soon as possible, working within the government’s 56-days completion schedule.

The second shipment is due later this month, bringing in specialist cold mix asphalt materials for fixing deteriorated areas of the runway.

Cold mix asphalt designs have been completed in New Zealand, along with production trials and the mix has been prepared ready for shipment to Vanuatu.

Emergency repairs to Bauerfield are expected to improve serviceability concerns of airlines and visitors alike, and return the country’s main airport to acceptable standards.

The emergency repair works are being funded through a World Bank loan at a cost of approximately Vt139 million.

“AVL has been working well with key stakeholders to ensure that works are carried out in a coordinated manner and without delay,” said AVL Chief Executive Officer, Jason Rakau.

He added, “I can assure the public that the runway fix is top of AVL’s priorities right now and that all available resources are being made available to assist and to ensure that Fulton Hogan meets their deadline.

“We are very happy with the great show of support so far from Air Vanuatu, Ifira Stevedoring, the Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU), Vanuatu Customs and Inland Revenue, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV), the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU), and Vanuatu Terminal Services Limited (VTS), amongst other local organizations, and appreciate the assistance provided to the AVL and Fulton Hogan teams in getting things done with minimal delay.

“I believe the tremendous show of support from local industry is a reflection of our nation’s strong commitment towards remedying the current situation without delay,” said Rakau.