Our Borders Are Now Open! Click here for travel information to Vanuatu. Visit Nabanga Pledge to stay Covid-safe during your holiday.

air calin pic


The Vanuatu Tourism Office Welkam Aircalin's return to Vanuatu

Media release - Port Vila, 11 July 2022: The Vanuatu Tourism Office is excited to welcome Aircalin’s return to Vanuatu, after over two and a half years of suspension of their commercial services between the two nations, due to the pandemic and subsequent borders restrictions.

We are so excited to welcome back our travelers from New Caledonia and our team were at the airport to make sure the first flight receives the warmest of the Welkam” says Adela Issachar Aru, Chief Executive Officer at the Vanuatu Tourism Office.

New Caledonia is an important trade and tourism partner to Vanuatu’s economy. Vanuatu’s first travel bubble, as announced by the Vanuatu Government in March 2021, was initially to open-up with New Caledonia and we had promising hopes at that time. Unfortunately, it did not eventuate because of the first COVID-19 outbreak in New Caledonia, a week before the anticipated opening date.”

“Vanuatu’s largest diaspora overseas actually resides in New Caledonia. This goes to show how much we value the historical and cultural connections we have established with New Caledonia and its people over the years.”

“Based on our International Visitor Survey with the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute in 2019, New Caledonian spent an average of 5.9 nights in Vanuatu, with an average spent of USD1,193 per visit or USD$206 per day. This is great spent from any visitor showing the flow-in of foreign exchange into our country”. She continued.

Prior to COVID-19, New Caledonia was the third largest inbound tourism market for Vanuatu, behind Australia and New Zealand, representing around 15% of Vanuatu’s annual visitor numbers or an average of 18,000 travelers.

Earlier this year, the Vanuatu Tourism Office undertook a mini traveler’s intention survey in New Caledonia, to gauge interests from our past NC visitors on their perceptions to travel post-COVID. Based on the results from the study, Vanuatu ranked as the preferred destination for New Caledonians (52%) to travel to, ahead of Australia (18%) and New Zealand (10%). 86% of the respondents plan to travel to Vanuatu in the next 12 months, while half of them were awaiting further information on health travel protocols to Vanuatu. The Ministry of Health addressed these concerns by removing all travel requirements including vaccination, except for a COVID-19 RAT or PCR test at least 24-72 prior to travel or the provision of a confirmation letter stating that the passengers has had no COVID in the last two months prior to travel. 59% of the respondents indicated they would travel to Vanuatu for holiday, 28% wanted to visit families and relatives and 9% for business and duty travel purposes.

 “Airports Vanuatu Ltd shares the same enthusiasm and excitement, as all other aviation and tourism partners in Vanuatu. Aircalin’s decision to return to Vanuatu marks another milestone, as we start our country’s recovery in aviation, tourism and trade. Airports Vanuatu Ltd remains committed to further dialogue with Aircalin to see how best we can accommodate additional flights in the future. Ideally, we would like to see Aircalin adding another flight each week, subsequently reinstating the capacity the airline offered prior to COVID. From there we will continue to work with the airline, exploring opportunities to build more capacity between New Caledonia and Vanuatu, subject to demand. “says Mr. Jason Rakau, Chief Executive Officer of Airports Vanuatu.

In 2019, Aircalin accounted for 9% of the international traffic to and from Vanuatu, behind Air Vanuatu (61%) and Virgin Australia (20%).

We have reviewed and assessed Aircalin’s submission to fly between Port-Vila and Noumea. It took us sometime but CAAV is satisfied that Aircalin’s operations meet Vanuatu’s aviation safety and security rule requirements, post COVID. Today, we added another foreign flagship to Vanuatu’s airspace and we will continue to review other regional airlines’ applications as they come forward.” Says Mrs. Grace Naparau, Acting Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV).

New Caledonia’s national airline landed last Saturday with 84 passengers, around 8:00pm local time. A Welkam back water salute, by the firefighters’ department of Airports Vanuatu Ltd, graced the airline’s newest generation Airbus A320neo aircraft upon landing. With a total capacity of 168 seats (without the Premium Economy Class option), the A320neo proposes a unique type of seat offering a space between seats of 30-inch (76.2cm) and a 5-inch seat tilt (about 12°), so travelers can enjoy comfortable leg rooms. Passengers have the option to select their seats and also reserve a Seat Plus up to 30 hours prior to departure.

Aircalin currently operates a weekly service between Noumea and Port-Vila on Saturdays, departing La Tontouta at 5:50pm and landing in Port-Vila at 6:55pm. With an hour turnaround, it leaves Port-Vila at 8:00pm and returns to La Tontouta at 9:05pm - the carrier also announced last month, the possibility of supplementary services during school holidays. Tickets are currently on sale at 31, 365XPF return.

On 01 July 2022, Aircalin also launched its first non-stop services between Noumea and Singapore, using the Airbus A330-900 onto the route. The twice weekly nine-hour flights on Fridays and Sundays, will help open-up the traffic from Europe and Asia to the South Pacific, including Vanuatu.

For more  information on entry requirements click here and for updates on deals and product offerings ahead of Vanuatu’s reopening, click here.