Air Vanuatu lost about Vt900m in income in 2015

Air Vanuatu's new Boeing 737-800 aircraft arriving at Bauerfield Airport, Port Vila for the first time in early 2016.

Air Vanuatu recorded a loss in revenue of close to Vt900 million in 2015 as a result of super tropical cyclone Pam in March of that year that devastated the country, says Joseph Laloyer, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer.

He said that 2015 was a really bad year for everybody including Air Vanuatu.

“I think the loss in revenue for us in 2015 was big — close to Vt900m,” Laloyer told Kizzy Kalsakau, host of 96 Buzz FM’s Vanuatu Nightly News program.

But he added that 2016 saw a big turnaround for Air Vanuatu, recording a ‘return to the black’.

“Indeed the statement that came out in the newspaper was correct,” referring to the press statement from that airline mid last week that showed an improvement in the financial performance of the airline.

“We cannot talk too much about how much it will be because now we have to close all the accounts and leave it to our auditors to go through the books, but definitely, I think after the very bad year in 2015, we are returning again to the black in 2016, a year later.”

To help get back to the black, the airline implemented a restructure of the company, reviewed all the routes, cut back on unprofitable routes, fine-tuned a number of areas and generally improved the revenue, CEO Laloyer explained.

“Definitely after the cyclone in 2015 there were severe problems we all encountered with hotels being affected, but these now are back on track.

“I think there were a lot of elements that made it a good year last year.

“Not as good as the year before 2015, but at least it gave us a platform to come out of the red we experienced in 2015.”

Laloyer anticipates a stronger year in financial performance for this year 2017 and subsequent years “if everything stays as they are, meaning that we do not have serious impacts from outside elements that we cannot control, in particular the airport”.

Daily Post understands that last year also around June the government signed a soft loan agreement of Vt400 million as a bailout window for Air Vanuatu.

The soft loan was to be used to meet the national airline debts, partly finance the Air Vanuatu Reform Plan, reduction in bank overdraft facilities, aircraft parts, return of AV1, the finalization of AV71 delivery and getting the ATR72 spare engines to the country, according to the agreement.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: Cell # 678 5460922

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