Airport Vanuatu: Financial Year 2019 Dividend

Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) has declared a financial dividend for the year ending September 2019 and today was proud to present a cheque to our Prime Minister, Hon. Bob Loughman, and Shareholders, Minister for Finance, Hon. Johnny Koanapo Rasou, and Minister Infrastructure & Public Utilities, Hon. Jay Ngwele. The Prime Minister and both Ministers were present at a short ceremony that took place today at Port Vila Airport’s VIP Lounge.

AVL is a State-Owned Enterprise and the Government of Vanuatu is represented through the shareholding ministries of Finance and Infrastructure and Public Utilities.

Jason Rakau, CEO of AVL commented, “It was a proud moment for me today on behalf of all AVL employees, to be able to pass on a dividend cheque to our shareholder, the Government of Vanuatu. AVL takes its role as a significant national infrastructure asset seriously. Aviation is an enabler of our society and economy, and the major facilitator of the movement of people, goods and services through the provision of air access, which is critical to our island nation. As such, AVL is listed as an essential service for Vanuatu. This past year has seen highs and lows in terms of record passenger throughput prior to Covid-19, then the cessation of the majority of flights after Covid-19, alongside our celebration of 40 years of Independence and the nation’s graduation from Least Developed Country status. It is pleasing to close the year with the payment of a dividend to our shareholders and mark the strong and continuing support and commitment AVL enjoys from our Ministers, their departments and the Prime Minister himself”.

Dividend declared through a challenging year

February 2020 saw AVL report record passenger throughput at its three airports at Port Vila, Tanna and Santo. The first six months of the financial year represented strong trading, with our airports never busier. The next six months saw operations limited, domestically and only humanitarian, cargo, repatriation and essential worker flights, internationally.

The short-term future holds promise, through a potential vaccine, but also holds uncertainty with clustered outbreaks of Covid-19 in some of our flight destinations, such as Sydney. Against this challenging backdrop, AVL has had to make some tough decisions to ensure the future viability of our business and despite being able to declare a dividend in the 2019 financial year. Regrettably, we are in the process of reducing our workforce through a combination of voluntary and compulsory redundancies and staff electing to take leave without pay. This unfortunate but necessary action, as in other parts of the world is being taken to ensure the survival of aviation as an essential service.

Kevin Abel, General Manager Operations commented, “While the past nine months have been very difficult for the aviation community, we are heartened to see the seasonal worker programme flights to Australia recommence, see the Air Vanuatu ATR return to service in time for Christmas, and see conversations about travel bubbles gaining ground. These are all signs for cautious optimism as we welcome 2021. AVL will continue to promote initiatives to advance the aviation industry and do its best to maximise every recovery opportunity. We wish all our stakeholders a peaceful Christmas with their families’,

(Source: Airports Vanuatu Ltd)

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