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Virgin Australia recommences direct flights to Vanuatu

The airline’s highly anticipated return to the Pacific Island nation is the latest step in rebuilding its short-haul international network and comes after services to Samoa and a brand-new Gold Coast-Bali route took off this month.

New short haul international services will see Virgin Australia grow its international capacity by 50 per cent from FY23 to FY24 a statement from the airline said.

Direct services from Brisbane to Port Vila will operate on the airline’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft up to five times a week in peak periods, and up to three times weekly in off peaks.

Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley said the addition of the island destination to Virgin Australia’s network gave holiday makers greater choice when it came to planning a getaway right on their doorstep.

“This is an important and longstanding connection for Virgin Australia, which started flying between Australia and Vanuatu nearly 20 years ago,” he said.

“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: “Australian visitation has continued to rise steadily since Vanuatu’s borders reopened in July 2022, and greater connectivity to Vanuatu, thanks to Virgin Australia, will help us welcome even more holidaymakers to our shores in 2023 and beyond.

“There’s so much to explore in Vanuatu, with life-changing adventures to be had no matter what a traveller’s interest. Virgin Australia has always been a valued partner to Vanuatu, and with non-stop flights from Brisbane to Port Vila, it’s now even easier for Australians to enjoy Vanuatu’s culture and islands, just 2.5 hours from Brisbane.

“We are excited to see more Australians answer the call of Vanuatu and look forward to seeing Virgin Australia’s red and purple in our skies again.”

Guests travelling on the route will be able to access extensive connectivity through Brisbane to the rest of the Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international network.

The flight schedule is well suited to leisure travellers, with a 10.40am departure from Brisbane.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson (file)