Air Vanuatu shareholders appoint new Board of Directors

Shareholders have appointed four new Directors to the Board of Air Vanuatu.

Former aircraft engineer Sam Firi has been appointed Board Chairman.

Well-known lawyer, Andrew Bal is the new Vice Chairman.

The other Board members are Jean Paul Virelala, a former CEO of Air Vanuatu and a former Member of Parliament, Philip Charlie.

The new members, together with Derek Nice, Managing Director and CEO of Air Vanuatu, constitute the new Board of Directors.

“On behalf of the over 400 employees at Air Vanuatu, I welcome Sam, Andrew, Jean-Paul and Philip to our team,” said Mr. Nice. “We are looking forward to their help and support as we manage our current challenges.”

Mr Firi thanked the outgoing Chairman Joel Lengsau, Vice Chairman Joseph Molkis, and the Directors Adela Issachar Aru, Ali Serhan and Jean Claude Emelee for all that they accomplished during their term.

The board led by former Chairman Lengsau was instrumental in returning Air Vanuatu to profitability, initiating international route expansion by relaunching service to Melbourne and increasing flights to Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Nadi; and implementing the airline’s contribution to the Shared Vision 2030 by committing to the acquisition of a new

Airbus A220 fleet, which offers the operating economics for profitable operation throughout the Southwest Pacific region.

Air Vanuatu is a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) of the Vanuatu Government, with 85% of shares entrusted to the Prime Minister’s Office and 5% of the shares individually entrusted to each of the Ministry of Tourism and Trade, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.

The newly appointed directors join the management and staff at a time of unprecedented crisis as result of the covid-19 pandemic, causing the closure of international borders and the suspension of Air Vanuatu’s international passenger services, critical to the survival of the Vanuatu tourism and aviation sector.

“New Era, New Look,” said Chairman Firi.

“Our aim is now focused on the recovery of Air Vanuatu amidst the covid-19 crisis. It is crucial that the national carrier remains prepared and ready once the travel demand returns, which will boost our national aviation and tourism industry.

“We will work hand in hand with all our partners and the Government to ensure our national carrier is protected and to continue serving the people of the Republic of Vanuatu.”


Photo supplied Caption: New Board Members, left to right: Jean Paul Virelala, Chairman Sam Firi, Andrew Bal, Philip Charlie.



Tensly Sumbe