Air Vanuatu (NF, Port Vila) will wet-lease an ATR72-600 from Fiji Link (FJA, Nadi) after sending its sole aircraft of the type - YJ-AV73 (msn 1358) - to Singapore for scheduled maintenance. According to Flightradar24 ADS-B data, the ATR - Avions de Transport Régional turboprop was ferried to Singapore Seletar Airport on Saturday, September 17, via Cairns, Darwin, and Denpasar for what the airline says is normal maintenance servicing.

"Air Vanuatu’s technical staff will accompany the ATR on its journey overseas as part of the airline’s maintenance oversight process," says an Air Vanuatu statement. "The partnership with Fiji Airways will include the aircraft, crew to operate the aircraft and the support team from Fiji Airways who will be based in Vanuatu."

Air Vanuatu says the arrival of the Fiji Link ATR72 will allow it to continue normal flight operations to Espiritu Santo and Tanna. However, Air Vanuatu ATR-operated flights to Nouméa La Tontouta and Nadi will temporarily cease with passengers transferred onto Aircalin (SB, Nouméa La Tontouta) and Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi).

Fiji Link, which operates domestic flights on behalf of parent airline, Fiji Airways, has two ATR72-600s; DQ-FJX (msn 1221) and DQ-FJZ (msn 1146).

State-owned Air Vanuatu has found itself under some pressure regarding its fleet and capacity constraints. ch-aviation has recently reported that DHC-6-300 YJ-AV12 (msn 673) was repossessed by its owner, Hevilift (PNG) (Mount Hagen), something Air Vanuatu denies. A second Twin Otter is also the subject of legal proceedings in Vanuatu's courts while the owner of Air Vanuatu's only B737-800 is also threatening repossession if ongoing discussions don't soon translate into ongoing repayments of monies owed.

The speculation surrounding the fate of Air Vanuatu's fleet and government support for the airline recently forced Jay Ngwele, Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, to come out in support of the carrier, saying that securing appropriate aircraft to operate the Air Vanuatu network remained a key priority. Concurrently, Air Vanuatu has flagged acquiring a second ATR72 if it can secure yet-to-be locked-in financial support from the government.