19th July 2017
In recent months, the Air Vanuatu domestic fleet has undergone extensive maintenance, however the airline has been criticised for delays. The recent schedule of maintenance included engineering and structural work as well as new spare parts, cockpit refurbishment and new external windows and flooring. Air Vanuatu Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer apologised for the delays but maintained that the airline prioritises safety ahead of its schedule.
“Our Twin Otter aircraft RV10 returned recently after heavy maintenance was carried out by Skytek in Cairns. The maintenance has ensured the aircraft is in fantastic near-new condition which will see it operating safely and comfortably for many years to come” he said.
The maintenance period for the aircraft had resulted in some delays to flights to Vanuatu in recent weeks, however Mr Laloyer insisted that it was an issue that needed to be addressed straightaway.
“It is imperative to us, under the direction of chief engineer Kerry Plowman to ensure any maintenance issues are addressed immediately. Mr Plowman joined Air Vanuatu late last year from Air New Zealand and has been tasked with ensuring our engineering departments meet IOSA and CAAV standards,” he said.
Apologising for the inconvenience caused to passengers, Mr Laloyer confirmed that the airline was working on improving communication with passengers regarding unexpected delays and, where possible, had chartered alternative aircraft to operate scheduled services.
“We insist on having passenger contact details in reservations in order to update our passengers of delays; sometimes this is not possible when unexpected delays do occur.”
However it seems the maintenance work has not affected passenger loads, with the airline sustaining good passenger loads over the Australian school holidays.
“We’ve been pleased with the feedback from the industry of full or near to full hotels and resorts and will continue to work with the industry to promote the destination,” Mr Laloyer said.
Along with the RV10 aircraft, the airline’s second Twin Otter AV11 has also received major maintenance supported by specialist engineers from New Zealand and Australia.