Air Vanuatu has added third Australian destination to its route network with the start of nonstop flights to Melbourne from its Port Vila hub.
The inaugural service, operated by Boeing 737-800 YJ-AV8, touched down at Tullamarine a little after 2000 local time on Wednesday, some four and a half hours after taking off from Port Vila’s Bauerfield Airport as NF8.
The aircraft was on the ground overnight before taking off as the reciprocal NF7 bound for Port Vila a little before 0730 on Thursday.
Air Vanuatu has scheduled three flights a week to Melbourne, with departures from Port Vila on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The return service operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It will be the only carrier on the route.
Melbourne joins Brisbane and Sydney in the airline’s Australian network. Qantas codeshares on all Air Vanuatu flights between Australia and Vanuatu.
The only other airline with nonstop flights between Australia and Vanuatu is Virgin Australia, which is on the Brisbane-Port Vila route.
Air Vanuatu chief executive Derek Nice said it was an exciting day.
“This new direct morning flight – which has guests arriving to Vanuatu by lunch time – is a great opportunity for Victorian travellers to explore our idyllic island nation and immerse themselves in the Melanesian spirit from the moment they step on board,” Nice said in a statement.
Melbourne Airport chief of aviation David Hall said the new flight would make the South Pacific easier to visit and more affordable for tourists.
“Air Vanuatu not only flies to Port Vila but also links to almost 30 destinations across the Pacific giving jetsetters plenty of options to explore the region’s stunning sights,” Hall said in a statement.
Port Vila will be Melbourne Tullamarine’s sixth destination in the South Pacific alongside Auckland and Christchurch (Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia), Nadi (Fiji Airways and Virgin Australia), Noumea (Aircalin), Queenstown (Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia) and Wellington (Air New Zealand, Qantas and Singapore Airlines).
Want to escape the winter blues? Now you can fly to #Vanuatu non-stop thanks to @AirVanuatu. Flights operate three times per week out of Melbourne. #DiscoverVanuatu #MelbourneAirport pic.twitter.com/4wl44xGRKG
— Melbourne Airport (@Melair) June 20, 2019
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Monday, Wednesday, Friday