Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau has labelled the current status of Air Vanuatu as a ‘mess’.
He made the remarks in his maiden speech as PM, during the appointment of the new Ministers at the Parliament Rotunda on Friday evening last week.
PM Kalsakau acknowledged the national flag carrier is a source of national pride in Vanuatu, but it has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past and recently.
“Our airline is a critical infrastructure in this country, and unless we remove political abuse, corruption and mismanagement, we will continue to ruin our national symbol,” he said.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a layoff of over 300 workers, and this has directly impact the service we should provide to the customers,” said PM Kalsakau.
The PM said the current Government trusts that it will get an honest appraisal of the matter, through an appropriate investigation, and an analysis for the Government to reinvent the entire system in a transparent manner, in order to make the airline serve its purpose.
The government will also ensure that the civil aviation legislation, and aviation security legislation are amended to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
Daily Post has contacted Air Vanuatu, but they did not provide a response.
Meanwhile, according to a statement from Air Vanuatu, with the snap election now completed, the directive on the appointment of the new Board members will be given by the government. As a state-owned airline, the government has a responsibility towards the operations and the financing of the airline. There is much anticipation that the newly elected government prioritises the necessary decisions to support the airline to further improve its operational capacity.