24th January 2018
December 2017 marked Air Vanuatu’s milestone 30th birthday. The national carried for Vanuatu, the airline delighted passengers flying from Sydney with surprise celebrations. Passengers travelling to Port Vila were welcomed at check-in and treated to a variety of birthday goodies including balloons, lollies and cupcakes.
Among the passengers to join in the festivities was host of the Weekend Today Show Steve Jacobs, who has recently relocated to Vanuatu with his family and is now a regular guest on flights to Vanuatu.
The airline flies six times weekly from Sydney and three times weekly from Brisbane, with daily domestic connections all on board the 70-seat ATR-600 aircraft. Air Vanuatu also operates a one-stop service from Sydney to Espiritu Santo on board a Boeing 737-800.
Established in 1981, Air Vanuatu was founded after the country gained independence from the United Kingdom and France in 1980. Originally receiving assistance from Ansett Airlines, the Vanuatu national carrier had a five-year agreement with Ansett. In 1987 the airline was re-established to be 100 per cent owned by the Vanuatu government.
A new commercial agreement was established with Australian Airlines and weekly flights between Port Vila and Sydney recommenced using a Boeing 727-200. In 1993, Australian Airlines were taken over by Qantas and Vanuatu’s commercial agreement rolled over with it.
To this day, Qantas is deeply involved in the operations of Air Vanuatu with the airline using the Qantas Frequent Flyer program as well as codesharing with Qantas on Air Vanuatu flights from Australia. Qantas also provides the pilot training and maintenance services for Air Vanuatu. Perhaps it is this partnership with Qantas that makes Air Vanuatu such a beloved carrier with Australian holidaymakers.
Air Vanuatu operates 28 domestic routes throughout Vanuatu in addition to nine international routes which include Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.