Sun. May 26th, 2024

Virgin Australia to increase flights to Vanuatu after national carrier’s collapse

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May22,2024
Key Points
  • Air Vanuatu has entered voluntary liquidation.
  • The Pacific nation’s carrier cancelled dozens of its international flights.
  • Affected travellers would be informed of this disruption and re-booked on flights as soon as operations resumed.
Air Vanuatu has entered voluntary liquidation after suddenly cancelling dozens of its international flights. Several figures from EY Australia were appointed liquidators on Friday.
The Pacific nation’s carrier cancelled more than 20 flights to and from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland for the rest of the week on Wednesday, which was attributed to “extended maintenance requirements” on aircraft.

EY said it would conduct safety and maintenance checks before the resumption of normal operations, adding that the airline’s existing management team would remain in place throughout the process.

“Air Vanuatu is critical to the people of the Republic of Vanuatu and a strategically important business to the nation,” said EY Australia’s Morgan Kelly, a partner in strategy and transactions and one of the appointed liquidators.
“Our team is working closely with management to ensure continuity of service to customers and to ensure services continue as seamlessly as possible.

“The outlook for the airline is positive, despite pressures on the broader industry, and we will be focused on securing the future of this strategically vital national carrier.”

Virgin Australia to increase its flights to Vanuatu

Virgin Australia is the only other Australian airline to operate into Vanuatu with its scheduled flights continuing to go ahead.

The airline confirmed on Friday afternoon it would increase its services between Brisbane and Vanuatu by two flights per week, to five per week, at the government’s request.

Those flights would continue for the rest of May and June, a Virgin Australia spokeswoman said.

“Virgin Australia has … applied to the International Air Services Commission to increase our allocation of seat capacity between Australia and Vanuatu, with plans to quickly commence a further seven weekly services from east coast gateways into Vanuatu, supporting continued connectivity with our Pacific neighbours,” the spokeswoman said.

Stranded travellers left unprotected by insurance

Affected travellers would be informed of this disruption and re-booked on flights as soon as operations resumed.

Melbourne woman Adara Brooks — who is 31 weeks pregnant and stranded in Vanuatu with her husband Tyler and two young children — learnt from her resort’s reception that her family’s flight home on Thursday afternoon was cancelled.

Speaking to 9 News on Friday, the couple said that, because the airline went into voluntary liquidation their flights weren’t covered by travel insurance, leaving them “thousands and thousands of dollars” out of pocket.
They also suggested that they would likely need to fly via Fiji or New Caledonia to get home.

“We’re definitely pretty keen to get home as soon as we can,” Adara said.

Katrina Sheiles from Sydney is also waiting to hear whether her scheduled flight back on 17 May will go ahead.
“We weren’t supposed to fly out tomorrow, or we don’t have anything super urgent to get back to, so we’re kind of trying to stay relaxed about it, go with the flow,” Sheiles, who is on a family holiday with her partner and three young children, told the ABC.

“We obviously have small children and I don’t want to necessarily be here for too long. At the moment, I think it’s a bit of a wait-and-see.”

Vanuatu tourism body apologises to affected customers

The Vanuatu Tourism Office said it was aware of reports Air Vanuatu had entered voluntary administration.
“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,” it said in a statement.
“This is an evolving situation and we will continue to post updates.”

Australia’s national carrier Qantas does not operate flights into Vanuatu but has a codeshare agreement with the airline to link passengers to the nation.

Qantas said it was supporting customers impacted by the cancellations to find alternative flights.
It also encouraged any customers with bookings on Air Vanuatu between now and the end of May to contact their flight provider for refunds.
The airline’s struggles come after Australian budget start-up Bonza collapsed with the airline only entering operations about a year ago.

Bonza’s fleet of planes has begun to be removed from Australia before the airline’s financial crisis is laid bare at a creditors’ meeting.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Virgin Australia to increase flights to Vanuatu after national carrier’s collapse”
  1. I believe Virgin Australia’s decision to increase flights to Vanuatu is a smart move considering the recent collapse of Air Vanuatu. It shows their commitment to supporting the region and providing necessary travel options for affected passengers. Hopefully, this expansion will help meet the demand for travel to and from Vanuatu until Air Vanuatu can resume its operations.

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