Air Vanuatu (NF, Port Vila) is set to put down a VUV850 million vatu (USD7.46 million) deposit on four Airbus narrowbodies. According to The Daily Post, Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune, and Air Vanuatu Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Derek Nice, signed the instrument on February 15.

The aircraft are 133-seaters - presumably A220-300s - the first of which is to deliver by June 2020.

According to Nice, the jets will be based out of Vanuatu and used to serve destinations in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific region.

Last month, the South Pacific island's prime minister, Charlot Salwai, unveiled the "Shared Vision 2030" initiative among whose aims is to grow Air Vanuatu's fleet from the current seven aircraft - one B737-800, one ATR72-600, one ATR72-500, three DHC-6-300s, and one BN-2 - to thirteen by 2030.

Air Vanuatu is also looking to build greater synergies with other regional South Pacific-based carriers.

Last week, the CEO of Air Calédonie (TY, Nouméa Magenta), Samuel Hnepeune, and the President of Air Vanuatu, Joël Lengsau, signed a framework agreement covering maintenance (currently done in New Zealand), the provision of backup capacity when aircraft are AOG or due in for maintenance, and business strategy.

An Air Caledonie statement said that among the tie-up's more specific objectives are service to Tanna in Vanuatu.

A meeting is scheduled for early March in Vanuatu to iron out the details.