Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu Joseph Laloyer has announced a weekly service to Suva, Fiji will commence in July. “We’re really excited to be operating our own direct service to Suva on Sundays. The new flights will complement our code-share services currently operated by Air Pacific on Tuesdays and Saturdays to Nadi,” he said. Mr. Laloyer said Air Vanuatu saw a market for Fiji-Vanuatu business and student travelers with no carrier offering direct services between the two capital cities. “Many business travelers have been forced to either drive between Nadi and Suva, or catch a domestic flight at great expense. Not to mention the extra time it takes to get home; with Air Vanuatu fares starting at just 42,140vt return, we are confident the flights will be a success.” Mr. Laloyer said the airline’s ATR-72 aircraft would operate the new flights. “The 68 seat ATR is the perfect aircraft to operate the short service.” Director of CAAV Mr. Joseph Niel presented Air Vanuatu with their Extended range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) certificate on Thursday, allowing Air Vanuatu to operate the Suva service. ETOPS allows twin engine aircraft (such as the ATR-72) to fly long distance routes with a diversion time of more than 75 minutes. “Approval to conduct ETOPS is granted by CAAV after consideration of various factors including type design (airframe/engine combination), the operator’s in-service experience and propulsion,” Mr. Niel said. “Before granting ETOPS, CAAV thoroughly checked maintenance, operational and training manuals to ensure activities the airline planned to undertake were sufficient to support this type of operation. “The compliance checks began in 2010, so it has been an extensive exercise,” Mr. Niel said. The new Fiji service will depart Port Vila at 0730, arriving in to Suva at 1100 local time. The return flight departs Fiji at 1200, arriving in to Vila at 1330.
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