7 May 2016

Virgin Airlines returns to Vanuatu

11:07 am on 7 May 2016

Vanuatu's tourism companies are hugely relieved at Virgin Airlines' resumption of flights later this month, four months after they were suspended.

Vanuatu's main international airport Bauerfield at Port Vila

Vanuatu's main international airport Bauerfield at Port Vila Photo: RNZI/Beverley Tse

Major airlines stopped flying into Vanuatu earlier this year because of the state of the international runway, which has now undergone repairs pending a major rebuild in the future.

Tourism operators in Vanuatu hope Air New Zealand can be persuaded to follow Virgin and give the repaired runway a similar all clear.

The chair of the Vanuatu hotel and resorts association Bryan Death is relieved at Virgin's move.

"It's huge, it's really big. It means we've got an extra three flights a week out of Australia and Air Vanuatu, the national carrier has recently announced they will be doing six flights from Sydney, three from Brisbane and three from Auckland from the 1st of June, so that's really putting some capacity out into the market."

Bryan Death said they wanted Air New Zealand to endorse the runway for normal services, but the airline has said it won't resume flights till a more permanent airport upgrade is locked in.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs