New Caledonia delays Vanuatu plane departure over debt

Civil aviation authorities in New Caledonia refused to let an Air Vanuatu Boeing 737 depart on Thursday, over an unpaid bill.

The plane, which had just delivered more than 100 ni-Vanuatu university students to New Caledonia, was held up for an hour before being allowed to return to Port Vila.

The Chief Executive of Air Vanuatu, Atu Finau, said there had been outstanding bills for ground handling at Tontouta International Airport.

He wouldn't say how much was involved but he did say the arrears extended back more than two years.

Finau said the airline had now reached an agreement with civil aviation in New Caledonia to settle the debt.


Photo RNZ Pacific Caption: Air Vanuatu aircraft at Tontouta International Airport in New Caledonia