Bid to boost air transport capability

Air Vanuatu CEO Derek Nice.

Some 140 new pilots will be hired over the next 10 years for the new joint aviation development plan between Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Tourism Office and Airports Vanuatu Limited, says the CEO of Air Vanuatu.

Derek Nice has confirmed to the Vanuatu Independent Online that they have been talking very closely with VTO and AVL about a new aviation development plan, which has been presented to the government on September 11.

He said they have recognised that it’s not possible for each of them to run into the future if they are not working together.

Mr Nice said it’s important that they don’t go in ‘different directions’, hence the development of the joint 10-year aviation development plan.

In addition to the development plan, Mr Nice has confirmed that Air Vanuatu will also be working closely with the Ministry of Education to hire 140 new pilots.

“We have looked at what our needs are for the next 10 years and we will have to hire a much greater number of pilots,” said Mr Nice.

“We would hire as many Ni-Vanuatu as possible.”

The hiring of the pilots will also include working with pilot degree holders who are already in the country without jobs, according to the Minister of Education, Jean Pierre Nirua.

He said there are many pilots who have received their papers overseas and are here in the country without jobs.

“We will work with the ministry to facilitate these people to ensure Ni Vans have the skills and training that we need so they can move into the airline and support this growth,” said Mr Nice.

“It is important that pilots have the right skills when they come to Air Vanuatu; we will be working with the government to make sure that when they have their training overseas, it is tailored to the needs of Air Vanuatu.”

Even though the talks and negotiations have already been held the new aviation development plan has not yet been finalised.

The joint team is working with the government to determine the investment needed and where it would come from.

“It important that we match Air Vanuatu’s growth to the ability of the airport and the ability of the tourism office to be able to market Vanuatu as a destination,” said Mr Derek.

Independent Online news understands that Air Vanuatu will be bringing more aircraft into the country but no further figures are available as yet.

“We cannot grow the tourism in the country without growing seats in our aircraft flying into the country,” said Mr Nice.

“So as the national airline of Vanuatu we will provide the capacity to bring those tourists.

“We will also be working on the growth and development of our domestic flights so we can spread the impact of tourism growth in the country.”

Air Vanuatu would not give any more further details about the new joint aviation plan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Civil Aviation Authority will also be working closely with the joint team to get traffic rights and access to new markets, which Mr Nice said would be important for the continuous growth of the tourism industry and Air Vanuatu in the future.

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