Qantas and Jetstar Set to Expand Services to Vanuatu Amid National Carrier’s Liquidation

Qantas and Jetstar Set to Expand Services to Vanuatu Amid National Carrier’s Liquidation

With the recent liquidation of Vanuatu’s national airline, Air Vanuatu, Australian aviation giants Qantas and Jetstar are poised to broaden their flight services to the South Pacific nation. This strategic expansion is anticipated to enhance the region’s tourism sector and invigorate its aviation industry.

Reports from the International Air Services Commission (IASC) indicate that Qantas has sought approval for a substantial increase in service, requesting 1,798 seats per week in each direction for the next five years. Qantas aims to launch these services by August, while its subsidiary, Jetstar, plans to commence operations in October. Their main competitor will be Virgin Australia, which is presently the sole provider of Australia-Vanuatu flights.

Air Vanuatu’s downfall followed a financial crisis, with debts totaling at least $99 million AUD. The airline’s operational challenges peaked earlier this month when it was forced to cancel all international flights, stranding numerous passengers. Complications included persistent maintenance issues with its sole jet, a Boeing 737-800, which had been grounded since January. In efforts to maintain some level of service, Air Vanuatu had relied on Solomon Airlines and a leased Boeing 737 from Nauru Airlines.

The increased service offerings from Qantas and Jetstar not only broaden travel options but are likely to drive down prices, making Vanuatu a more accessible destination for tourists. This competition is expected to reduce airfares and invigorate economic activity in the region.

For travelers affected by these changes, Qantas has made provisions, urging those on codeshare flights to reach out for assistance. The airline is well-regarded for its commitment to customer satisfaction and smooth travel experiences.

Currently, the alternative route from Vanuatu to Australia is serviced by Virgin Australia, with flights from Port Vila to Brisbane. This route functions with up to five direct services in the peak tourist season and three during quieter periods. With the expansion from Qantas and Jetstar, travelers will appreciate greater flexibility and choice when organizing trips to Vanuatu.

Despite the challenges, there is a positive outlook for Air Vanuatu’s restructuring, with active efforts spearheaded by EY’s Strategy and Transactions Partner Morgan Kelly, to stabilize operations and safeguard the airline’s future.

Moreover, Vanuatu is also intensifying efforts to protect its marine wildlife, particularly marine turtles, which are classified from vulnerable to critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A national review is ongoing to assess the effectiveness of current marine turtle management and conservation methodologies.

Vanuatu boasts an Exclusive Economic Zone spanning 623,424 sq. km, with 226 sq. km designated as protected. The nation has 15 marine protected areas and actively promotes the conservation of its rich biodiversity with 19 terrestrial protected areas.

In summary, the extension of Qantas and Jetstar’s operations into Vanuatu promises significant benefits for the local tourism and aviation sectors, offering more competitive pricing and diverse travel options while reinforcing the regional economy.



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Category / Vanuatu Citizenship


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