Vila Times

Welcome back to the ATR aircraft

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Airports Vanuatu Ltd (AVL) wishes to congratulate Air Vanuatu on the return of their ATR aircraft to Vanuatu.

Maintaining fleet capacity and capability are critical to air access

Today, AVL is delighted to welcome back Air Vanuatu’s ATR72-600 aircraft, which has been absent from our shores for many months, prior to the closure of borders. The aircraft has finally returned from maintenance in Cairns and is proposed to re-enter service next week. Historically the ATR has been based at Port Vila Airport and served AVL’s other two domestic airports on Santo and Tanna, as well as international destinations in New Caledonia and Fiji.

Since the National Disaster Management Office lifted restrictions on domestic flying, Air Vanuatu has had access to the flagship Boeing 737-800 and three Twin Otter aircraft, which seat up to 16 people, and therefore the potential to service Tanna and Santo has been constrained. With the return of the ATR aircraft, up to 58 people can be accommodated on the aircraft, and critically more freight could also be carried on flights.

Jason Rakau, AVL CEO commented, “Maintaining capacity in the domestic fleet is critical to serving essential air services in Vanuatu, between our hub in Port Vila and our outer islands, which delivers air access to our residents and delivers essential air freight. By adding the ATR back into the fleet, we will see a significant uplift in available capacity, with the number of seats available more than double compared to the baseline of three Twin Otter aircraft. Importantly, the return of the ATR opens multiple doors to growth, both to other Pacific Islands within range and to free up capacity on the Twin Otter fleet, enabling Air Vanuatu to review the schedule they are operating to the outer islands.

The road to recovery

The return of the ATR coupled with the ongoing maintenance and compliance of the remainder of the Air Vanuatu fleet are essential components to the return of air services to Vanuatu. AVL has enjoyed a strong relationship with both Shared Vision partners, Air Vanuatu and Vanuatu Tourism Office, in the past. “It is through working together towards a unified set of objectives and in a cohesive approach, under the Access Transportation and Tourism Taskforce (AT3) that we will most efficiently plan and facilitate the restart of international aviation. That ongoing co-operation is critical in enabling Vanuatu to effectively access the economic and social benefits that will stem from restarting international aviation”, commented Mr Rakau