With its plans to recruit more ni-Vanuatu pilots, the national flag carrier’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Atu Finau, says the current situation of amended schedules on reduced flights is expected to be resolved within two months.
In an interview with the Vanuatu Daily Post, Finau emphasised the airline’s intention to recruit and promote ni-Vanuatu pilots to serve in the airline. He explained that to employ the pilots, there are requirements and certain training that the pilots will have to undertake in order to qualify them to fly the different types of aircraft, and this will also require adequate time.
Confirming that more pilots will be recruited in the coming weeks, Air Vanuatu also highlighted that the process of finally landing a pilot on an aircraft involves other important institutions such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV).
“It is a lengthy process,” said the Chief Commercial Officer of Air Vanuatu, Greg Wilson, but the pilots who will be joining the airline will have to comply with it.
“The process will be juggling between operating a flight to one of the islands in a day and trying to fit in a training flight that could take two to three hours.”
Last week, the airline informed that they were short on crews as some were sick, causing disruption to flights. Prior to that, a number of pilots have moved on in their careers.
Given the situation, they have reduced flights to a number of islands, but keep “key routes that are making money” for the company.
Wilson cleared rumours on social media claiming that the airline has stopped its services to areas. He said they are only reducing the flights and are doing their best to keep the connectivity for travellers to travel through Santo and Tanna.
Currently, they have 10 ni-Vanuatu pilots. Two more ni-Vanuatu pilots who are flying in Kiribati are expected to be part of the team in the near future.