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Landmark plane order and new nonstop for Air Vanuatu

February 27, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email


Air Vanuatu has signed a firm order with Airbus for four Airbus A220 aircraft – while, using another aircraft, it prepares to launch a new, nonstop service from Australia to Espiritu Santo, a South Pacific island known for stretches of perfect sand.

The national airline of Vanuatu confirmed yesterday it had signed a firm order with Airbus for four Airbus A220s.

Air Vanuatu and Airbus announced the news officially during the signing ceremony yesterday morning at the Avalon Airshow. Air Vanuatu’s first ever order with Airbus makes it the launch operator of the A220 in the Pacific region. The order includes two A220-100 series aircraft with 108 seats and two A220-300 series aircraft with 133 seats.

Above: A new Air Vanuatu Airbus A220-100

The new “We’re proud to be the launch airline in the Pacific region for the Airbus A220” said Air Vanuatu’s chief executive Derek Nice.

“These aircraft will be deployed to operate our current international and domestic network, including our newly announced non-stop Melbourne to Port Vila service, and will bolster plans to expand our network to new destinations throughout the South Pacific.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer, said: “By ordering the A220 Air Vanuatu is making a significant investment in advanced technology and superior passenger comfort, while demonstrating its respect for fuel efficiency and the environment. Air Vanuatu’s decision to place the Airbus A220 at the centre of its expansion plans will surely keep it one step ahead of the competition.”

 

Air Vanuatu signing ceremony in Avalon yesterday. (L to R): Christopher Buckley, Airbus executive vice president Europe, Africa and Pacific; the Honourable Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister, Republic of Vanuatu; Joel Lengsau, chairman of the board of Directors, Air Vanuatu (Operations) Ltd

The A220’s superior passenger experience includes wider seats, more legroom and bigger windows. Its advanced technology brings much greater fuel efficiency and lower noise levels, demonstrating Air Vanuatu’s commitment to the environment. These aircraft can be economically operated on domestic services, regional routes and into the new long-haul markets that are key to Air Vanuatu’s growth plan.

Air Vanuatu is expecting the first Airbus A220 delivery in June 2020. The airline also had rights to purchase four additional aircraft, which give it the potential to increase its order to eight aircraft in total.

MEANWHILE, ON THE ESPIRITU SANTO FRONT, Air Vanuatu is set to launch a dedicated, non-stop service between Brisbane and Espiritu Santo from 18 June 2019. The new service will replace the existing triangular service between Brisbane, Espiritu Santo and Port Vila.

An Air Vanuatu Boeing 737-800 will operate the new service to Espiritu Santo

Espiritu Santo is renowned for Champagne Beach and Lonnoc Beach (both have with coral reefs and clear, sheltered waters) and the town of Luganville, known for World War II relics. Dive sites include the sunken SS President Coolidge cruise liner and submerged US war machinery at Million Dollar Point.

The launch of the new B737-service will bring the total number of Air Vanuatu flights departing Brisbane to Vanuatu each week to five, including Air Vanuatu’s four non-stop flights each week between Brisbane and Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila.

Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

The direct service from Brisbane to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu will operate every Tuesday, departing Brisbane at 11.10 (local time) arriving in Espiritu Santo at 15.10 (local time). The return service will depart Espiritu Santo at 16.10 (local time) arriving in Brisbane at 18.20 (local time).

Air Vanuatu also offers seven non-stop flights per week from Sydney to Port Vila. It recently launched a new, non-stop service between Melbourne and Port Vila, which will commence on 18 June 2019.

Written by Peter Needham



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