Vanuatu will become the ninth Pacific Island destination for Air New Zealand from 5 August 2006 when, subject to NZ Government approval, the airline enters into a bi-lateral code share agreement with Air Vanuatu. Under the agreement, Air New Zealand will initially operate its code on the three services per week currently operated by Air Vanuatu between Auckland and Port Vila.
Then from late October, Air New Zealand will operate an A320 service one day a week and Air Vanuatu will operate two B737 services per week. Air New Zealand will continue to retain its code on the two Air Vanuatu services.
Air New Zealand Group General Manager Short Haul Airlines, Norm Thompson said the airline was pleased to be able to add Vanuatu to its portfolio of South Pacific holiday destinations.
We welcome this relationship with Air Vanuatu and see it as an opportunity to offer our leisure customers an additional choice when planning their tropical island holiday.
Only some three hours from Auckland, Vanuatu is growing in popularity as an island destination and, given our robust South Pacific network, it makes sense for Air New Zealand to commit its own aircraft to operate a service once a week from our next schedule change, said Mr Thompson.
Air Vanuatu CEO, Captain Terry Kerr said the airline welcomed Air New Zealand as a partner on the route and added the new service will create more exposure and interest for Vanuatu as a growing destination in New Zealand.
After more than a decade flying the route and promoting the destination along with Vanuatu tourism stakeholders, we believe the support and contribution by Air New Zealand will bring another dimension to the tourism development for Vanuatu, said Mr Kerr.