The airline made the decision after receiving information yesterday afternoon that any repatriation efforts will be coordinated through the COVID-19 advisory group.
Based on a meeting held by the National Disaster Advisory Committee on Monday, 10 August, the office of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV) has indicated that all repatriation flights will be coordinated with Air Vanuatu once all Phase Two repatriation procedures are in place.
“We are putting on hold the international repatriation flights until NDMO is satisfied with the airline’s inflight COVID-19 protocols and measures submitted on Monday, 10 August and currently under review by Vanuatu Health. Apart from scheduled cargo flights, all repatriation flights, including private charters, will be approved on adhoc basis, “said Jackie Langati Trief, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu.
“The decision to delay these services is beyond our control and it is absolutely not caused by any financial reasons” said Joseph Laloyer, Air Vanuatu Acting Chief Executive Officer. “All our flights have been approved by the regional airports and authorities concerned to operate as per the published schedule.”
“Air Vanuatu remains fully committed to working with the Vanuatu Government through NDMO to undertake the international repatriation flights.”
The National Disaster Advisory Committee is expected to issue an advice by Monday, 17 August 2020 with regards to repatriation flights.
Mr. Laloyer has reassured the public that the new international flight schedule will be issued with sufficient advance notice and will include a choice of departure dates, to provide passengers with the flexibility to book and make necessary travel arrangements.
In the meantime, Air Vanuatu is planning to expand its current international cargo flights to and from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia this month.