Home » Australians stranded in Vanuatu as national airline teeters on the brink of voluntary administration

Australians stranded in Vanuatu as national airline teeters on the brink of voluntary administration

Australian tourists are stranded in Vanuatu after the country’s national airline cancelled international flights for four days, while the Vanuatu government considers putting it into voluntary administration.

Air Vanuatu confirmed in a statement on Thursday afternoon all international flights until Sunday were cancelled, and flights after that day are “under review”.

“The Vanuatu government is now considering placing Air Vanuatu, the national carrier of Vanuatu, into voluntary administration,” the statement said.

“The international firm Ernst & Young has been appointed to assist the Vanuatu government in reviewing available options and put forward recommendations to the Vanuatu government.”

Vanuatu’s capital city Port Vila. Tourists are stranded in the Pacific nation after Air Vanuatu cancelled flights for several days.(ABC News: Doug Dingwall)

Flight cancellations have left travellers to the South Pacific nation in limbo as they wait to find out when they can fly home.

Adara Brooks, who is visiting Vanuatu with her husband Tyler and their two young children, is 31 weeks pregnant and waiting to get home to Melbourne.

They travelled there to celebrate the recent wedding of some family members. 

She learnt from her resort’s reception that her family’s flight from Port Vila to Melbourne, scheduled for this afternoon, was cancelled.

“The travel agent has advised not to book any other flights or anything like that, without getting confirmation tomorrow, otherwise our travel insurance might not cover it,” Ms Brooks said.

She’s hoping the family isn’t stranded for much longer.

“It’s more just being safe because I am so far along in the pregnancy. It would be good to be at home this far along,” she said.

Mr Brooks, who runs landscaping and construction supplies businesses, also needs to get back to Melbourne for work.

“It is a lot harder obviously to run these businesses from here,” Ms Brooks said.

Katrina Sheiles, from Sydney, is on a family holiday with her partner and three young children, and is waiting to hear whether their scheduled flight back on May 17 will go ahead.

“We weren’t supposed to fly out tomorrow, or we don’t have anything super urgent to get back to, so we’re kind of trying to stay relaxed about it, go with the flow,” she said.

“We obviously have small children and I don’t want to necessarily be here for too long.

“At the moment, I think it’s a bit of a wait and see.”

Tourism office apologises to travellers

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its advice to travellers this afternoon, warning that Air Vanuatu and codeshare partners had cancelled or rescheduled flights “for the coming days”.

“If you’re affected by these cancellations, contact the airline, your travel agent or insurance company about rescheduling flights,” it said on its Smartraveller website

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