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Air Vanuatu Restarts Direct Brisbane–luganville Flights

Air Vanuatu has officially restarted its once-weekly Brisbane–Luganville return flights that directly connect Australia to Vanuatu’s largest island Espiritu Santo in just 2.5 hours. This pivotal event for the people of Vanuatu’s northern islands was celebrated with a launch trade and media event and Brisbane Airport activation.

During the Brisbane Santo Celebration launch, the Hon. Prime Minister, Ishmael Kalsakau Ma’aukoro urged Australians to experience the wonders of Espiritu Santo.
He implored the audience, “These locations have only seen a handful of visitors each year. They yearn for the Australian visitor to take advantage of the beauty displayed when you come to our country. Of course, tourism is a vital pillar in our economy, providing employment and small business opportunities and also generating revenue for our communities. We humbly urge you to come and explore Santo.”

The Hon. Minister for Tourism & Trade, Matai Seremaiah Nawalu highlighted that ‘Aviation connectivity is critical to our businesses for their recovery and operations and this relaunch of the Brisbane Santo flight is the Government’s commitment to Air Vanuatu to bring the market and access to all businesses, whether it be in tourism, retail, investments and or export services. Santo is a key economic hub for Vanuatu and this flight will contribute to the development of this hub’.

The reinstated service departed Brisbane Airport at 08:30 am Vanuatu time on Thursday last week with Air Vanuatu passengers treated to a pop-up activation that included cupcakes, ni-Vanuatu music and photo opportunities.
Air Vanuatu Acting CEO Joseph Laloyer said the airline is delighted to celebrate the service and is grateful for its strong partnerships with the Vanuatu Government, as shareholders of Air Vanuatu and other key partners such as the Vanuatu Tourism Office and Brisbane Airport for preparing and delivering this flight.
“This service represents Air Vanuatu’s commitment to ensuring connectivity for our guests, as well as to Santo, its residents, and the entire tourism industry in Vanuatu’s north,” Mr Laloyer said.
The service sees an increase in total air capacity from Australia to Vanuatu. It cuts travel time to Espiritu Santo by 2.5 hours for Australians, who had previously connected through Port Vila.

Vanuatu Tourism Office CEO Adela Issachar Aru said she is pleased to welcome more visitors to Espiritu Santo, with the service allowing Australians to fly directly to the island and beyond to experience all the region has to offer.

“Whether it’s exploring the wonders of the Champagne Coast, from Port Olry to Champagne Beach, the sensational blue holes, nature trekking, diving, an abundance of fresh food and our friendly people, this direct service allows visitors to easily Answer the Call of Vanuatu,” said Mrs Issachar Aru.

Additionally, the mid-morning departure time allows for easy connectivity within Australia and the arrival time enables seamless connections beyond Luganville to northern islands such as Malekula, Ambrym, Pentecost, Ambae, Banks and Torres Islands.

Solomon Airlines will operate the flights on behalf of Air Vanuatu with departures every Thursday.

A welcome ceremony for the first Brisbane-Santo Direct Flight took place yesterday at the Santo International Airport with speeches of acknowledgement to the Government and Air Vanuatu from the Espiritu Santo Tourism Industry members, Sanma Provincial Government, Luganville Municipality and the Airports Vanuatu Limited.