Bauerfield International Airport

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Bauerfield International Airport

Port Vila International Airport
PortVilaAirport.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OperatorAirports Vanuatu Limited
ServesPort Vila, Vanuatu
Hub forAir Vanuatu
Elevation AMSL68 ft / 21 m
Coordinates17°41′57″S 168°19′11″E / 17.69917°S 168.31972°E / -17.69917; 168.31972Coordinates: 17°41′57″S 168°19′11″E / 17.69917°S 168.31972°E / -17.69917; 168.31972
Map
VLI is located in Vanuatu
VLI
VLI
Location of airport in Vanuatu
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
11/29 2,600 8,530 Asphalt

Bauerfield International Airport (IATA: VLI, ICAO: NVVV) is an airport located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The airport is relatively small in size, but its runway has the capability and length to accept jets up to the Airbus A330. It serves as the hub for Vanuatu's flag carrier airline, Air Vanuatu.

History[edit]

Map of Efate Island showing military installations 27 July 1943

With Japanese forces establishing bases on Guadalcanal which threatened the sea route between the U.S. and Australia, Admiral King distributed the joint basic plan for the occupation and defense of Efate (the island containing Port Vila) on 20 March 1942. Under its terms the US Army was to defend Efate and support the defense of ships and positions. The US Navy's task was: (1) to construct, administer and operate a naval advance base, seaplane base, and harbor facilities; (2) to support Army forces in the defense of the island; (3) to construct an airfield and at least two outlying dispersal fields; (4) to provide facilities for the operation of seaplane-bombers.[1]

On 25 March 1942, the Army sent about 500 men to Efate from Nouméa, and the 4th Defense Battalion, 45th Marines, arrived on 8 April. Elements of the 1st Naval Construction Battalion arrived on Efate on 4 May 1942. The Marines had already cleared a coral 2,000 feet (610 m) by 200 feet (61 m) runway near Port Vila on part of a plantation owned by Henri Russet and the Seabees expanded this to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) by 350 feet (110 m).[2]

The airfield was originally named Efate Field, Vila Field or McDonald Field but was later officially named Bauer Field after Lt-Col. Harold W. Bauer, a fighter pilot in the US Marine Corps who was lost at sea on 14 November 1942 after being shot down during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

USAAF units stationed at Efate Field included:

The base was disestablished and abandoned in February 1946.[3]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
Air Niugini Honiara, Port Moresby
Air Vanuatu Auckland, Brisbane, Dillon's Bay, Emae, Honiara, Ipota, Lamap, Lamen Bay, Lonorore, Luganville, Melbourne (begins 18 June 2019),[4] Nadi, Norsup, Nouméa, Paama, South West Bay, Sydney, Tanna, Tongoa, Ulei, Valesdir
Aircalin Nouméa
Fiji Airways Nadi, Suva
Solomon Airlines Honiara
Virgin Australia Brisbane

Cargo[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
Pacific Air Express Brisbane

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 28 July 2018, an ATR-72 operating Air Vanuatu Flight 241 suffered a runway excursion whilst landing with an engine shut down following an in-flight fire. The aircraft collided with two Britten-Norman Islanders, writing one off and severely damaging the other.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ Building the Navy's Bases in World War II History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps 1940-1946. US Government Printing Office. 1947. p. 202.
  2. ^ Bases, p.204-5
  3. ^ Bases, p.206
  4. ^ "Air Vanuatu to launch Melbourne-Port Vila flights". ausbt.com. Retrieved 30 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bauerfield International Airport at Wikimedia Commons