Air Vanuatu

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Air Vanuatu
Air Vanuatu logo 2010.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
HubsBauerfield International Airport
Frequent-flyer programQantas Frequent Flyer
Fleet size7
HeadquartersAir Vanuatu House
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Key peopleDerek Nice (CEO), Francois Lategan (GM Flight Operations)
Air Vanuatu ATR 72

Air Vanuatu is an airline with its head office in the Air Vanuatu House, Port Vila, Vanuatu.[1] 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.[2]


Boeing 737–800 YJ-AV1, Air Vanuatu's former flagship, at Auckland Airport in 2008
Air Vanuatu Harbin Y-12

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.[3] Ansett also took a 40% stake in the new airline, the government of Vanuatu holding the other 60%.[4] 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.[3] 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.[5] In March 1986 the agreement with Ansett expired and was not renewed, this had the effect of grounding the airline.[3]

In 1987 the company was re-established with 100% ownership by the government of Vanuatu,[6] 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.[3] 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.[7] In November 1992 the 727 was replaced by a Boeing 737–400 leased from Australian Airlines.[7] 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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8] The same month Bandeirante services ceased when a Saab 2000 entered service.[8] 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.[9] In April 2001 Air Vanuatu merged with Vanair, however the merger was reversed only five months later.[10][11] In November 2003 an ATR 42 entered service for use on domestic routes in competition with Vanair.[12] In September 2004, Air Vanuatu again merged with Vanair.[2]

In January 2008 Air Vanuatu replaced its Boeing 737–300 with a new Boeing 737–800.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] The ATR 72 made its first revenue flight for Air Vanuatu on 8 November 2009.[16] A second ATR 72–500 (formerly operated by Kingfisher Airlines) was delivered to the airline in November 2014.[17] 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.[18] 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 that 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. [19]



As of November 2009 Air Vanuatu operates 28 domestic routes throughout the country.[20]


Air Vanuatu ATR 42 aircraft (now retired) at Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila.






Air Vanuatu Boeing 737–300 at Sydney Airport. This aircraft left the fleet in 2008.

As of July 2015 Air Vanuatu operates nine international routes to Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands.

City Country IATA ICAO Airport Refs
Auckland  New Zealand AKL NZAA Auckland Airport
Brisbane  Australia BNE YBBN Brisbane 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
Sydney  Australia SYD YSSY Sydney Airport

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Air Vanuatu has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[21]


As of July 2017, the Air Vanuatu fleet consists of the following aircraft:[22]

Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
ATR 72–500 1 68 68 In storage after a landing accident by an engine fire on July 28th 2018.
ATR 72–600 1 70 70
Boeing 737–800 1 8 162 170 New Boeing 737 has been delivered with Boeing Sky Interior
Twin Otter
19 19 Replaced Harbin Y-12 aircraft

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 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.[23][24][25]
  • On 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.
  • On 28 July 2018, ATR-72 YJ-AV71 operating Flight 241 suffered an in-flight engine fire. On landing at Port Vila, the aircraft departed the runway and collided with two Britten-Norman Islander aircraft. Thirteen people sustained minor injuries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us." Air Vanuatu. Retrieved on 22 June 2010. "Air Rue de Paris Port Vila, Vanuatu"
  2. ^ a b Flight International 27 March 2007
  3. ^ a b c d Reid, Gordon. "1988 Major Airline Directory", Australian Aviation magazine, No. 44, May/June 1988, p40. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., Weston Creek ACT. ISSN 0813-0876
  4. ^ "World airline directory", Flight International 3 April 1982, p815 (online archive version), retrieved 18 November 2009
  5. ^ Reid, Gordon. "1986 Major Airline Directory", Australian Aviation magazine, No. 33, July/August 1986, p39. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., Weston Creek ACT. ISSN 0813-0876
  6. ^ "World Airline Directory", Flight International 1 April 1989, p55 (online archive version), retrieved 18 November 2009
  7. ^ a b c d Reid, Gordon. "Major Airline Directory", Australian Aviation magazine, No. 96, May 1994, p75. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., Weston Creek ACT. ISSN 0813-0876
  8. ^ a b Reid, Gordon. "Major Airline Directory", Australian Aviation magazine, No. 150, May 1999, p50. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., Weston Creek ACT. ISSN 0813-0876
  9. ^ Reid, Gordon. "Major Airline Directory", Australian Aviation magazine, No. 161, May 2000, p56. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., Weston Creek ACT. ISSN 0813-0876
  10. ^ "Vanuatu industry: Air Vanuatu merges with bankrupt domestic carrier" retrieved 18 November 2009
  11. ^ "Air Vanuatu & Vanair Demerge" Archived 2012-07-31 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved 18 November 2009
  12. ^ Flight International, 18–24 November 2003, p.15
  13. ^ "New Air Van CEO" – Vanuatu Daily Post Online[permanent dead link] retrieved 16 November 2009
  14. ^ "Air Vanuatu takes delivery of new ATR 72–500" – ATR Media Release[permanent dead link] retrieved 16 November 2009
  15. ^ Willie, Royson. "Opposition says high salaries part of Air Vanuatu problems" – Vanuatu Daily Post Online Archived 2009-11-07 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved 13 November 2009
  16. ^ Garae, Len. "ATR-72, a touch of international class" – Vanuatu Daily Post Online[permanent dead link] retrieved 13 November 2009
  17. ^ "Second ATR for Air Vanuatu". Airliner World: 17. January 2015.
  18. ^ "ATR-72, a touch of international class" – Raiodo New Zealnd International retrieved 15 October 2015
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Air Vanuatu Domestic Fares Matrix" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  21. ^ "Profile on Air Vanuatu". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  22. ^ "All About Air Vanuatu – Air Vanuatu". Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Vanuatu plane crash injured flown to Brisbane". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  24. ^ "Crash: Air Vanuatu BN2P near Olpoi on Dec 19th 2008". Salzburg: The Aviation Herald. 2008-12-21. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  25. ^ "Few details on cause of fatal plane crash in Vanuatu". Radio New Zealand. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 22 December 2008.

External links[edit]