15 May 2024

New Zealander forced to cancel Vanuatu holiday after four years of planning

12:07 pm on 15 May 2024
Ed Amon

Amon's holiday was originally planned for April 2020. Photo: Supplied

Air Vanuatu has cancelled all of its international flights until Sunday, and later flights are under review as it considers voluntary administration.

Amon's holiday with his wife was planned for April 2020, but then the Covid pandemic hit. They got airline credit and were meant to go in September 2023, but they had a baby, so it was postponed to May 2024.

He told First Up the airline did not contact him about his cancelled flight, instead he said, "Simon Dallow told me" on the 6pm news.

On 9 May 2024, Morgan Kelly, Justin Walsh and Andrew Hanson of Ernst and Young Australia (EY Australia) were appointed Voluntary Liquidators of Air Vanuatu (Operations) Limited (In Liquidation).

The liquidators are now in control of the business and will conduct safety and maintenance checks before the resumption of normal operations.

The only other option that worked for Amon was via Australia.

"A flight going through Brisbane which would take about 43 hours to get there. It was the only thing available with a long stay in Brisbane and then going there and then on the way back as well, more than 20 hours."

He was only going for four days, most of which would be spent inside an airport. It would also cost about $4000 more.

So they decided to cancel the trip and plan another one for another time.

"Everybody goes to Fiji. I was really amazed by Vanuatu because of the culture and the language ... I really wanted to go there.

"But now it's not going to happen and also I'm going to have to regroup because I'm a poor student with a wife on maternity leave," Amon said.

Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand executive director Cath O'Brien said it was still an emerging situation.

She recommended passengers sit tight, await news from the airline or the administrators, and not travel to the airport.

The airline's voluntary liquidation is not just affecting holidaymakers. About 1458 seasonal workers are stranded in New Zealand with visas soon to expire.

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