VT1.2 BILLION AIR VANUATU REVENUE
Air Vanuatu has generated a revenue of VT1.2 billion from January to September this year.
Finance Minister Johnny Koanapo revealed this in Parliament this week.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Vanuatu has been paying off its debt of over VT1 billion to creditors, which existed before the pandemic, he said.
“Its loan for a twin otter with Bred Bank has been sorted out as of October this year. It continues to make payments to its other creditors,” the Finance Minister said.
“The company is still not free from debts, but I believe it is doing its best to recover its debts.”
Minister Koanapo conveyed that a contract was to be signed for the government to inject over VT200 million into Air Vanuatu, to sustain the airline’s continuous flights to destinations abroad.
He revealed that the government will renegotiate the Airbus A220 Purchase Agreement committed by the previous Air Vanuatu Board, following the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the matter.
“As revealed by the report, that type of aircraft is not fit for purpose in the region but we went ahead to make a commitment thus, we must face its consequences.
“The amount of money committed to the Airbus deal was more than an annual government budget. It was not a really good deal and we must find a way to negotiate our way out of it.
“The government is trying to renegotiate the deal. With the permission of the shareholders, I as the Minister of Finance, assigned Technical Adviser — Jean Paul Virelala, to negotiate if it is possible for us to use that money to purchase two ATR aircrafts instead of Airbuses.
“The ATR aircrafts are more appropriate for us. We want our domestic company to fly regional routes and offer shares.
“We have never owned an aircraft. We must change our mode of operation instead of continuing to lease aircrafts.”
One of the recommendations given by the COI into the purchase of the four A220 airbuses, is to negotiate an acceptable exist from the Airbus contract.
Air Vanuatu signed the purchase agreement with Airbus Canada in 2019, making it the launch customer of A220 in the Pacific region. Almost VT2 billion has been committed by the government for the arrangement.
The first aircrafts which were expected last year have not arrived yet.