Air Vanuatu yesterday announced a number of changes to its international inflight catering services that will provide more options for passengers and increase environmental sustainability, while reducing operating costs.
The airline says it is launching a new range of Business Class and Economy Class meals, offering passengers a greater selection, including more dietary preferences.
The airline is also transitioning to fully biodegradable cutlery in another step toward its goal to be a leader in environmental sustainability.
At the same time, Air Vanuatu is relocating to a new and more efficient catering center just a kilometer from Port Vila’s Bauerfield International Airport.
“We expect to reduce our catering costs by 25% while increasing passenger satisfaction,” said Air Vanuatu’s CEO Derek Nice.
“With the move to our new catering facility we will also be reducing staff, with ten fewer positions.
“We are doing all we can to reduce the impact on our staff, including redundancy packages and alternative roles within the airline.”
The airline will be sourcing semi-prepared main course meals from the largest Australian kitchens of global airline catering supplier Dnata, which supplies similar meals to many well-known international carriers.
The airline will also continue to source local Vanuatu products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, famous Aelan chocolate and Tanna coffee, and Vanuatu spring water.
“We are eager to showcase Vanuatu products whenever we can,” said Nice.
Passengers can expect to see Air Vanuatu’s new inflight service everywhere on the network by the end of July.
Meanwhile, the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has raised concern about the restructuring at the airline’s catering service.
VCCI stated: “Whilst the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry have not formally been advised of any actions by Air Vanuatu Catering, we would be concerned to hear that indigenous ni-Vanuatu may lose their jobs if a decision by Air Vanuatu to outsource their catering to a company in Australia is in fact true.
“We fully support the Vanuatu Government’s aim to increase indigenous ni-Vanuatu employment opportunities and develop the economy through Direct Foreign Investment, as expressed through the National Sustainable Development Plan (The People’s Plan 2030).
“As a State Owned Enterprise (SOE), Air Vanuatu has the opportunity to provide a leading example to other SOEs and the private sector in Vanuatu in the fostering and development of nationalization of employment and the increased diversity of training opportunities here in Vanuatu.
“If this is indeed the case, we would call on Air Vanuatu Board and Management to address this decision in the interest of the development of our economy and failing this, we call on the Vanuatu Government to intervene as the major shareholder in this SOE,” VCCI stated.
Recently the government agreed to support Air Vanuatu through a loan of up to VT3 billion for Air Vanuatu’s implementation of the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan 2030.
When clarifying public comments about this loan recently, the Minister of Finance said the government realises the potentials the country has in its development pathways under the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan 2030, further expanded and linked to the Tourism Development and National Policy created the ‘Shared Vision 2030’ powered by Airports Vanuatu Limited, Air Vanuatu (Operation) Limited and the Vanuatu Tourism Office.