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Air Vanuatu in liquidation but plans to resume services

written by Adam Thorn | May 10, 2024

Air Vanuatu has been placed into voluntary liquidation – but is planning to resume services “as soon as possible”.

In a statement released on Friday morning, liquidator Ernst & Young said stranded passengers would be “informed of this disruption” and booked on flights when operations resume. The existing management team will also remain in place.

It comes after the airline, which is a codeshare partner with Qantas, cancelled flights this week.

Currently, only Air Vanuatu and Virgin Australia operate flights between the two countries, leaving many passengers potentially struggling to return home.

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“The liquidators have taken control of the business today and will conduct fleet safety and maintenance checks before the resumption of normal operations,” said Ernst & Young.

“The liquidators intend to resume normal trading as soon as possible, while considering all opportunities to place the carrier on a stronger footing.

“Affected travellers will be informed of this disruption and rebooked on flights as soon as operations resume.

“The existing management team will remain in place and will work closely with the liquidators through this process.”

The statement added that the airline is critical to the people of the Republic of Vanuatu and a strategically important business to the nation.

“The outlook for the airline is positive, despite pressures on the broader industry, and we will be focused on securing the future of this strategically vital national carrier.”

Air Vanuatu codeshares with Qantas on daily flights from Sydney to Port Vila, four flights per week from Brisbane to Port Vila, and three flights per week from Melbourne to Port Vila, as well as weekly services from Brisbane to Santo operated for Air Vanuatu by Solomon Airlines.

The Flying Kangaroo is advising customers on affected codeshare flights to contact Qantas.

Air Vanuatu has been experiencing maintenance difficulties with its only jet aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, which has not flown since January. The airline also operates an ATR 72-600 for inter-island travel.

In a March statement, Air Vanuatu said it was leaning heavily on contracted Solomon Airlines flights and another 737 leased from Nauru Airlines.

“While the airline continues to operate over 70 per cent of its current scheduled international flights, it is doing so in a challenging environment, with the airline’s sole Boeing 737 aircraft still awaiting parts and one of the contracted Solomon Airlines A320s now also requiring engineering works,” the statement read.

“Air Vanuatu management confirm the airline is focusing on two major priorities: first, sourcing the required parts from as far afield as Europe, Asia and America to ensure the return of their aircraft to service, and secondly, continuing to operate their schedule with international flights operated mostly by partner aircraft and maintaining domestic schedules with their fleet.

“Globally there are many airlines affected by parts shortages and this is a major concern for the industry.”

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Comment (1)

  • Ian Smith

    says:

    So many small Pacific nations rely heavily on airline services not only for tourism / business travel but also for medivac services, transport to/from outlying communities, critical cargo transport etc.

    It really will be disappointing and very disruptive if the airline (or another) can’t resume services.

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