Passengers on Air Vanuatu’s domestic routes will notice something different on their next flight with the airline revealing a VT55 million overhaul and upgrade on one of its Twin Otters.

Known by the airline as “AV11” after its registration number YJ-AV11, the aircraft is one of three Twin Otters which service the outer islands.

AV11’s new paint and interior brings a refreshing visual to the domestic fleet. The airline imported brand new parts from Canada to replace sections of the aircraft’s structure and has completely updated most of the instruments on the flight deck.

“This is a major upgrade,” Air Vanuatu’s CEO Derek Nice said.

“We’ve brought AV11 into the 21st century. It is going to carry a bigger payload of baggage and cargo, it will be more reliable and the new flight deck will reduce pilot workload.”

The flight deck upgrade is the most significant change. The airline has replaced 20 instruments and indicators with just two state-of-the-art LED displays manufactured by Garmin in the United States.

Looking like small TV screens, these new displays are driven by computers that gather and process information about aircraft status, engine performance, navigation and weather.

“The flight deck on AV11 is now very similar to our ATR 72 and Boeing 737-800,” Mr. Nice said.

“Our younger pilots will find the transition from the Twin Otter to our larger aircraft easier than before.”

The rollout of AV11 also marks another milestone. This is the largest aircraft engineering project ever completed in Vanuatu, as opposed to previous maintenance work carried out overseas.

All the work on AV11 was entirely done in Port Vila. Specialist structural engineers came here to work alongside Air Vanuatu’s local engineers, providing important training and guidance to the airline’s staff.

Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu has been instrumental in providing rigorous oversight, ensuring the aircraft is fully compliant with all applicable regulations and standards.

“Our engineering team benefited from the expertise of the structural engineers, learning new skills which will be passed on to our local engineers,” Mr. Nice said.

“This project is a significant investment in not only our domestic aircraft but our engineering department as well.”

AV11 goes back in to service today.

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