Air Vanuatu announces that effective April 2020, the national airline will be introducing an enhanced domestic network providing better connectivity for the northern and central islands of Vanuatu, within Torba, Penama and Malampa Provinces. Key to this new network is the building of a domestic hub at Santo Airport.
Air Vanuatu plans to create an engineering base for the servicing of one Twin Otter to be permanently stationed at Santo Airport commencing from the beginning of April. This is to facilitate same-day connections between multiple islands.
The new engineering base will also ensure better servicing of larger aircraft, including both the ATR 72 and the new Airbus A220. Air Vanuatu also plans to open a new crew base in Santo, with pilots stationed on the island. Over time Santo will become a major hub for Air Vanuatu’s operations.
“We hope to see more non-stop flights and better connections to and from the islands of the northern provinces. This means our customers will soon see shorter journey times and fewer disruptions” says Derek Nice, Air Vanuatu Chief Executive Officer.
A similar change will occur in the southbound operations into Tafea Province, with Tanna becoming the hub for small aircraft services to and from other southern ports such as Dillon’s Bay and Aneityum.
“We are working hard with Airports Vanuatu Ltd. to overcome limitations so that we can satisfy the hubbing opportunities throughout our domestic network,” says Mr. Wotlolan Lobu, General Manager Airports. “We are especially supportive of AVL’s plans to install runways lighting at Tanna Airport, which will allow us to operate the ATR72 aircraft after dark, so that we can increase the number of flights.”
“We welcome the national airline’s announcement and look forward to supporting the airline in developing Santo Airport as another domestic hub. This new domestic hub will enable our northern provinces to get better access to the benefits associated with aviation and we look forward to seeing an increase in aviation and tourism activity as a result of these new developments.” Says Jason Rakau, Chief Executive Officer, Airports Vanuatu Ltd.
“Vanuatu Tourism Office welcomes Air Vanuatu’s announcement as a hugely positive development for tourism in Vanuatu” says VTO CEO Adela Issachar Aru. “Visitors to Espiritu Santo and the surrounding islands of northern Vanuatu come seeking real life- changing adventure. The development of Santo Airport into Air Vanuatu’s northern domestic hub will enable quicker connections for our visitors to the myriad of exciting accommodation and activity options available across Torba, Penama, Malampa and Sanma Provinces”, says CEO Issachar Aru.