LONDON – Air Vanuatu has placed a firm order for four Airbus A220 aircraft, making it the launch customer of the aircraft in the Pacific region.

The deal consists of two A220-100s and two A220-300s, offering flexibility in operations to the 26 international and domestic destinations the airline operates to across Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and New Calewdonia.

The aircraft will join the Boeing 737 and ATR 72 it has in its fleet already.

Commenting on the order was the airline’s CEO Derek Nice who emphasised the pride in being a launch customer.

“We are proud to be the launch airline in the South Pacific of the best-in-class Airbus A220. These aircraft will be deployed to operate on our current domestic and international routes, including our newly announced non-stop Melbourne-Vanuatu service, and will bolster plans to expand our network in the South Pacific.”

Christian Scherer, the Airbus Chief Commercial Officer also joined in with the celebrations, emphasising Air Vanuatu’s investment into Airbus.

“By ordering the A220 Air Vanuatu is making a significant investment in advanced technology and superior passenger comfort, while demonstrating its respect for fuel efficiency and the environment. Air Vanuatu’s decision to place the Airbus A220 at the centre of its expansion plans will surely keep it one step ahead of the competition,”

These A220s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G turbofan engines which will offer Air Vanuatu up to 20% lower fuel burn per seat.

Airbus currently has 530 aircraft in the order book and strongly believes it has what it takes “to win the lion’s share of the 100-150 seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years”.

The A220 is part of Vanuatu’s economic development goals to boost links and connectivity from the islands, especially through codesharing with other airlines and beyond to create more of a global framework.

It will be interesting to see how much further the A220s will be able to take the airline and whether we could see any new destinations open up as a result.