Air Vanuatu tests Grand Caravan EX aircraft

Air Vanuatu (Operations) Limited has elongated its status of service to the country as they test a contemporary aircraft, that if seen pertinent could replace the current Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.

The Textron Aviation manufactured Grand Caravan EX is a novel improved, newly-advanced and efficient aeroplane which outperforms all other single-engine utility turboprops currently operating in Vanuatu, no matter the conditions or the mission.

A small assembly gathered with enthusiasm at the Bauerfield VIP lounge on Tuesday 30, with the presence of Air Vanuatu (Operations) Ltd high associates, Chief Executives from AVOL, ANZ, Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), Textron Aviation Regional Director and Associate together with Hawker Pacific Aircraft Sales Manager and Minister of Finance, Gaetan Pikioune to partake in the scheduled flight demonstration.

Air Vanuatu Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Derek Nice has affirmed that the old Islander BN2B is “too unreliable” and “unprofitable” while operating domestically.

The company is looking for alternatives to carry on the beneficial service to support the aviation economy.

“Feedback from today’s guests and attendees as well as from our engineers and pilots after the test flight, will assist us in determining whether it is fundamentally fit to purchase the aircraft,” said CEO Nice.

The test fight took approximately 40 minutes to reach Valesdir Airport at Epi island. Steered by a pilot who had never landed on Epi before, US pilot Jeffry Tibbitts flew the Grand Caravan smoothly over the wide ocean before winging it to land effortlessly at the grass runway.

Even with a range of well over 900 nautical miles, a max cruise speed of 185 knots and useful load of more than 3,500 pounds, the rugged, versatile Grand Caravan EX gets in and out of tight places with short runways. Making it the preferred aircraft of regional carriers, charter businesses and special missions operations with remote destinations.

The Caravan is said to be worth around US$ 2.5million.

With an air-conditioned cabin plus a spacious interior, comfortable seats and distributed ear muffs allocated in seats to allow communication and interaction between the pilot and the guests and to also sound proof any sound resonance.

Participants in the test flight have endorsed a huge different flying experience compared to the existing Islander who has served the company for more than a decade.

Textron Aviation continues to lead as the industry with the broadest product portfolio and the most capable aircraft service network in the world.