9 May 2024

Vanuatu govt considers placing Air Vanuatu into voluntary administration

5:11 pm on 9 May 2024
Air Vanuatu plane lands

Air Vanuatu plane Photo: Hilaire Bule

The Vanuatu government is now considering placing Air Vanuatu, the national carrier of Vanuatu, into voluntary administration.

In a statement, the international firm Ernst & Young has been appointed to assist the government of Vanuatu in reviewing available options and providing recommendations.

Ernst & Young representatives arrived in Port Vila on 9 May, to begin an assessment of Air Vanuatu's financials and are being assisted by the Vanuatu government and the Air Vanuatu team.

Air Vanuatu confirmed the cancellation of all international flights, from Thursday 9 May through to Sunday 12 May (inclusive). All future flights after Sunday 12 May 2024 were being reviewed.

Air Vanuatu said it planned to continually update the Vanuatu Travel Advisory page [airvanuatu.com/travel-advisory/flight-schedule-changes found here] for passengers and industry.

Whilst the assessment is ongoing, further commentary and updates would be provided by Air Vanuatu, until an outcome result is finalised.

Vanuatu Tourism Office

The Vanuatu Tourism Office says it is aware of reports that its national carrier Air Vanuatu has entered voluntary administration.

The Office is a body corporate under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, and is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament.

The Vanuatu Daily Post first reported that Air Vanuatu Board chairman Alain Lew said the board no longer exists since the appointment of an administrator.

Lew was appointed by new Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.

Air Vanuatu Office, Port Vila.

Air Vanuatu's main office in Port Vila Photo: RNZ Pacific / Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor

"At this stage, we are unable to share further information but are in contact with Air Vanuatu and the Vanuatu government and will share updates as they become available," the Vanuatu Tourism Office said in a statement.

"We are conscious of the impact this situation has on travellers, ticket holders and the industry and on behalf of the Vanuatu tourism industry extend our apologies to anyone affected," a tourism office spokesperson said.

In April, a former Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities reported that Air Vanuatu was facing a serious situation of bankruptcy.

RNZ Pacific has called both the chair and chief executive for comment.

Air Vanuatu chief executive Joseph Laloyer told RNZ Pacific he was in a meeting and 'you caught me at a bad time'.

This is a developing story - more to come.

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