Air Vanuatu is launching a direct service from Brisbane to Espiritu Santo, the largest island in Vanuatu.

The Brisbane-Santo flights, operated on a 144-seater Airbus A320 by Solomon Airlines on behalf of Air Vanuatu, will begin on 1 June and operate once per week on a Thursday, departing Brisbane at 10:30am and returning at 5:10pm.

Santo is one of Vanuatu’s more popular holiday destinations, and according to Air Vanuatu acting CEO Joseph Laloyer, the direct connection will make it easier for Australian travellers to reach the country’s northern outer islands and increase total airlift capacity between Vanuatu and Australia.

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“Since Vanuatu’s border reopening in July 2022, we have been welcoming passengers internationally to Port Vila and beyond domestically,” he said.

“This announcement represents a fantastic moment in our ongoing recovery since borders reopened mid-last year, and will help further support and boost tourism in the northern part of the country.”

The Brisbane route will be the only destination outside Vanuatu from Santo International Airport, which currently sees Air Vanuatu services operating to the capital of Port Vila and to other islands within the country.

“Increasing aviation access to Vanuatu is critical to growing tourism and trade and the economic benefits they bring to our people,” said Vanuatu’s Minister of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, Honorable Matai Seremaiah Nawalu.

Capacity between Australia and Vanuatu has been increasing, with Virgin Australia last month resuming services between Brisbane and Port Vila up to five times per week.

“This is an important and longstanding connection for Virgin Australia, which started flying between Australia and Vanuatu nearly 20 years ago,” said Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley.

“It means Australians now have another wonderful Pacific Island destination just a short flight away and an opportunity to enjoy the unique beauty and culture of Vanuatu. This is also really positive news for Vanuatu, which relies on connections like these as a source of tourism and to connect friends and family across the Pacific.”

Vanuatu Tourism Office CEO Adela Issachar Aru said Virgin Australia “has always been a valued partner” to the island nation.


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