Van­u­atu Up­grad­ing Run­ways to Boost Do­mes­tic Travel

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Air Van­u­atu is work­ing with the na­tional gov­ern­ment to en­sure run­ways are up­graded in time to re­ceive its fleet larger do­mes­tic air­craft.

Air Van­u­atu chief ex­ec­u­tive Derek Nice says the gov­ern­ment has iden­ti­fied Nor­sup, Lonoror and Mo­ta­lava as the first run­ways to be up­graded and ex­tended to ac­cept ATR-sized re­gional tur­bo­props.

Air­fields

These air­fields mainly serve lo­cal communitie­s, although the coun­try is push­ing to eventually pro­mote these des­ti­na­tions to tourists as well, Nice adds.

The coun­try has seen a steady uptick in tourism, says Nice, who pre­dicts the cur­rent 10 per cent year-on-year growth in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals to re­main in­tact for the fore­see­able future. Peo­ple from Aus­tralia and New Zealand ac­count for 80 per cent of in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, but Nice pre­dicts the pro­por­tion of for­eign­ers from other mar­kets will in­crease to 50 per cent from 20 per cent cur­rently.

Tourist

These new for­eign tourists will come from places fur­ther away such as Asia, North Amer­ica and Europe, says Nice, adding this is sig­nif­i­cant as tourists from places fur­ther away tend to spend more time in Van­u­atu when they get there.

They also tend to travel around Van­u­atu’s ar­chi­pel­ago, giv­ing a boost to do­mes­tic air ser­vices and eco­nomic devel­op­ment across parts of the coun­try, he says. Air Van­u­atu re­cently or­dered two 108-seat and two 133-seat Air­bus A220s to re­place its sin­gle wetleased Boe­ing 737-800 and sup­port growth in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals.

Ca­pac­ity

Nice says some of this ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity will in­evitably sup­port code-shares with car­ri­ers from nearby coun­tries such as the Solomon Is­lands.

Goal

But the main goal is to de­velop Van­u­atu as a des­ti­na­tion for tourists from re­gions like east Asia. In­ter­na­tional ar­rivals from east Asia have grown at a yearly rate of about 12 per­cent over the last five years, he adds.

The air­line will also be up­grad­ing its do­mes­tic fleet to match growth in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals, Nice says.

It is con­sid­er­ing com­ple­ment­ing its ex­ist­ing ATR 72-600 with an­other ATR 42-600 or ATR 72-600 to grow trunk routes, he adds.

Re­quire­ment

There is also a re­quire­ment to re­place Air Van­u­atu’s three ageing de Hav­il­land Canada Se­ries 300 Twin Ot­ters and two Brit­ten-Nor­man Is­lan­ders with newer air­craft. Smaller tur­bo­props are needed because it will take some time to up­grade the air­ports and will still be some air­ports that have run­ways less than 1,000m-long, he adds.

Air Van­u­atu re­cently or­dered two 108seat and two 133seat Air­bus A220s to re­place its sin­gle wet-leased Boe­ing 737-800 and sup­port growth in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals.

Air Van­u­atu tur­bo­prop .... lo­cal air­ports are be­ing up­graded for them.

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