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Bauerfield International Airport

Coordinates: 17°41′57″S 168°19′11″E / 17.69917°S 168.31972°E / -17.69917; 168.31972
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Bauerfield International Airport

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

Bauerfield International Airport (IATA: VLI, ICAO: NVVV) (French: Aéroport International Bauerfield) 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 served as the hub for Vanuatu's now defunct flag carrier airline, Air Vanuatu.

History[edit]

Map of Efate Island showing military installations 27 July 1943
International terminal
Apron view

During World War II[edit]

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 Seabees 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. The Seabees expanded this to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) by 350 feet (110 m).[1]: 204–5 

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.[1]: 206 

Development since the 2000s[edit]

The airport runway was rebuilt in 2019 after a 3-year construction project funded by the World Bank.[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
Aircalin Nouméa
Air Niugini Honiara, Port Moresby (both resume 3 August 2024)[3]
Fiji Airways Nadi
Solomon Airlines Auckland,[4] Brisbane,[5] Honiara, Nadi[6]
Virgin Australia Brisbane[7]

Cargo[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
Pacific Air Express Brisbane[citation needed]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

  1. ^ a b c 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.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Vanuatu Airport runway rebuilt". www.rnz.co.nz. Radio NZ. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Air Niugini Resumes Honiara – Port Vila Sector From August 2024". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 18 June 2024.
  4. ^ "Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu Strengthen Partnership". Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Solomon Airlines Expands Vanuatu Service From late-May 2024". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 29 May 2024.
  6. ^ "Solomon Airlines Flight Schedules | International & Domestic".
  7. ^ "Virgin Australia return to Vanuatu". Daily Post. Retrieved 9 January 2023.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bauerfield International Airport at Wikimedia Commons