a large airplane on the runway
Source: Air Vanuatu.

Does Air Vanuatu Have a Future?

All flights have been grounded, with no word on when — or if — they will resume.

Dozens of flights that were to be operated by Air Vanuatu were suddenly grounded, as the national flag carrier for the Pacific island country of Vanuatu officially entered liquidation on Thursday, May 9, 2024. Does Air Vanuatu have a future?

Does Air Vanuatu Have a Future?

Instructions for customers of Air Vanuatu have been posted at the official Internet web site of the airline:

If you are due to fly with Air Vanuatu, please DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Please note that Air Vanuatu is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers at this stage.

If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on an Air Vanuatu flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.

Customers are also advised to monitor the Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu website for further information (https://caav.vu/).

If you require any further information or assistance, please contact the Liquidators by email at AirVanuatu@au.ey.com.

Furthermore, the phrase “All flights have been grounded with immediate effect” is currently at the aforementioned web site.

Of the five airplanes which currently comprise the entire fleet of Air Vanuatu, one Boeing 737-800 aircraft was used for international flights. If that one airplane had a mechanical problem, a domino effect of international flights would be affected by it — rendering its schedule as unreliable.

Several airlines currently offer service to Bauerfield International Airport, which serves the largest city in Vanuatu. Port Vila is also the capital city of Vanuatu. The only airline which currently offers nonstop service is Virgin Australia between Port Vila and Brisbane; and service will increase from two flights per week to five flights per week as a result of the cancellation of flights by Air Vanuatu.

At the time this article was written, round trip airfares between Brisbane and Port Vila were as low as approximately $484.00 in United States dollars with Virgin Australia.

Air Vanuatu was founded in 1981.

Final Boarding Call

At the aforementioned web site, the word were was used with regard to employees, creditors, and suppliers of Air Vanuatu — for example, “In the event that you were an employee of the Company and you require further information or assistance” — which suggests that short of a miracle or an influx of a substantial amount of funds, Air Vanuatu is the latest casualty towards becoming a defunct airline.

Interestingly, I flirted with the idea of going on a side trip to Vanuatu when I was in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. The cost, inconvenient schedule, and lack of time prevented me from doing that…

…but even then, trouble was already brewing for Air Vanuatu: a number of flights from Port Vila to Auckland were canceled; while greater than half of the international flights were delayed at least two hours primarily due to mechanical issues with the Boeing 737-800 airplane. Even if nothing else was a factor against Air Vanuatu, the reliability of the airline was too undependable to consider.

I hope to visit Vanuatu one day — but that visit likely will not be the result of me as a passenger aboard an airplane operated by Air Vanuatu…

Source: Air Vanuatu.

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