|Hubs||Bauerfield International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Headquarters||Air Vanuatu House
Port Vila, Vanuatu
|Key people||Joseph Laloyer (CEO), Francois Lategan (GM Flight Operations)|
Air Vanuatu is an airline with its head office in the Air Vanuatu House, Port Vila, Vanuatu. It is Vanuatu's national flag carrier, operating to Australia, New Zealand and points in the South Pacific. Its main base is Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila.
Air Vanuatu was established in early 1981 after Vanuatu gained independence from the United Kingdom and France the previous year. The assistance of Ansett Airlines was sought and a five-year agreement put in place for Ansett to provide aircraft and operating staff. Ansett also took a 40% stake in the new airline, the government of Vanuatu holding the other 60%. The first Air Vanuatu flight, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 owned and operated by Ansett, departed Sydney for Port Vila on 5 September 1981. In May 1982 a Boeing 737–200 of Polynesian Airlines replaced the DC-9; this was replaced in turn by an Ansett 737-200 in October 1985. In March 1986 the agreement with Ansett expired and was not renewed, this had the effect of grounding the airline.
In 1987 the company was re-established with 100% ownership by the government of Vanuatu, after a new commercial agreement was signed with Australian Airlines; weekly Sydney – Port Vila flights re-commenced on 19 December using a Boeing 727–200 chartered from Australian. Air Vanuatu subsequently bought the aircraft in 1989 and leased it back to Australian for use on that airline's network on days that it was not used by Air Vanuatu. In November 1992 the 727 was replaced by a Boeing 737–400 leased from Australian Airlines. The following year an Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante was also leased from Australian, entering service that April to operate flights between Port Vila and Nouméa. The leases on both aircraft continued after Australian was taken over by Qantas in October 1993, with the commercial agreement being rolled-over to Qantas as well. Qantas is deeply involved in the airline's operations to this day; Air Vanuatu uses Qantas Frequent Flyer program, Qantas codeshares on Air Vanuatu's flights from Australia, and provides maintenance and pilot training services as well.
Air Vanuatu terminated the lease on the Qantas Boeing 737–400 after it took delivery of its own Boeing 737–300 in April 1997. The same month Bandeirante services ceased when a Saab 2000 entered service. The lease on the Saab 2000 was terminated in March 1999 and in June that year Air Vanuatu commenced using a de Havilland Canada Dash 8 of Vanuatu's government-owned domestic carrier Vanair on weekly services to Nouméa. In April 2001 Air Vanuatu merged with Vanair, however the merger was reversed only five months later. In November 2003 an ATR 42 entered service for use on domestic routes in competition with Vanair. In September 2004, Air Vanuatu again merged with Vanair.
In January 2008 Air Vanuatu replaced its Boeing 737–300 with a new Boeing 737–800. Three Harbin Y-12s were added to the fleet in early 2009 and in October the same year the airline took delivery of a new ATR 72–500 aircraft to replace its ATR 42. Four days after the ATR 72 arrived at Port Vila the Board of Air Vanuatu was sacked and replaced by Directors General of various Vanuatu government ministries. The ATR 72 made its first revenue flight for Air Vanuatu on 8 November 2009. A second ATR 72–500 (formerly operated by Kingfisher Airlines) was delivered to the airline in November 2014. CEO Joseph Laloyer says that in 2016 the Harbin Y-12 is being phased out for the Twin Otter. It will be much more economical for the airline to operate than the Harbin Y-12. Also, CEO Laloyer says that they less demand of the two ATR 72-500's is that they are going to be replaced by one ATR 72–600. He also says rhat the airline is going to lease a brand new Boeing 737-800. In a quote saying that "Our current Boeing 737–800 has served us well but it is time for a newer, more cost efficient aircraft,". This brand new 737 is going to have the new Boeing Sky Interior. 
As of November 2009 Air Vanuatu operates 28 domestic routes throughout the country.
- Craig Cove (Craig Cove Airport)
- Lamap (Malekoula Island Airport)
- Norsup (Norsup Airport)
- Paama (Paama Airport)
- South West Bay (South West Bay Airport)
- Ulei (Ulei Airport)
- Longana, east Ambae (Longana Airport)
- Naone, Maewo (Maewo-Naone Airport)
- Redcliffe, south Ambae (Redcliffe Airport)
- Lonorore, south Pentecost (Lonorore Airport)
- Sara, north Pentecost (Sara Airport)
- Walaha, west Ambae (Walaha Airport)
- Émaé (Siwo Airport)
- Lamen Bay (Lamen Bay Airport)
- Tongoa (Tongoa Airport)
- Valesdir (Valesdir Airport)
- Anatom (Anatom Airport)
- Aniwa (Aniwa Airport)
- Dillon's Bay (Dillon's Bay Airport)
- Futuna Island (Futuna Airport)
- Ipota (Ipota Airport)
- Tanna (White Grass Airport)
- Gaua (Gaua Airport)
- Mota Lava (Mota Lava Airport)
- Sola, Vanua Lava (Vanua Lava Airport)
- Torres Islands (Torres Airport)
As of July 2015 Air Vanuatu operates nine international routes to Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands.
|Auckland||New Zealand||AKL||NZAA||Auckland Airport|
|Honiara||Solomon Islands||HIR||AGGH||Honiara International Airport|
|Luganville||Vanuatu||SON||NVSS||Santo-Pekoa International Airport|
|Nadi||Fiji||NAN||NFFN||Nadi International Airport|
|Nouméa||New Caledonia, France||NOU||NWWW||La Tontouta International Airport|
|Port Vila||Vanuatu||VLI||NVVV||Bauerfield International Airport|
|Suva||Fiji||SUV||NFNA||Nausori International Airport|
As of July 2017, the Air Vanuatu fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|ATR 72–500||2||–||–||68||68||To be replaced by the 600's series|
|ATR 72–600||1||–||–||70||70||To replace the 500's series|
|Boeing 737–800||1||–||8||162||170||New Boeing 737 has been delivered with Boeing Sky Interior|
||–||–||19||19||Replaced Harbin Y-12 aircraft|
Incidents and accidents
19 December 2008 – an Air Vanuatu Britten-Norman Islander aircraft (Flight NF 261) with nine passengers crashed into a mountain near Olpoi Airport on the western side of the island of Espiritu Santo, killing the pilot and seriously injuring some passengers. The aircraft had been heading to Santo-Pekoa International Airport. The mountainous region where the plane crashed was shrouded in thick fog at the time.
25 July 1991 – an Air Vanuatu Britten-Norman Islander aircraft also crashed, killing all 9 passengers and the pilot on the island of Espiritu Santo. The crash site was only located after a 4-day search involving several helicopters. The crash was attributed to pilot error.
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