The leader of the parliamentary opposition in Vanuatu, Ishmael Kalsakau, has accused the government of rushing the order for A220s for Air Vanuatu (NF, Port Vila) despite questions related to the safety of the type's engines, the country's only daily newspaper The Daily Post has reported.

"The Government has hastily bulldozed its finances without Parliament endorsement and now, Air Vanuatu has gone ahead and signed the deal on the Airbus A220. The Opposition Office is not condemning the government and Vanuatu Tourism Office partnership with Air Vanuatu to invest and promote the tourism industry but the public of Vanuatu must be updated on the economic viability of these Airbuses," Kalsakau said.

He further referred to the recent emergency landing of an A220-300 operated by Swiss (LX, Zurich), which experienced a mid-flight engine shutdown. The incident prompted a brief grounding of the entire fleet of A220s operated by the Swiss airline and an airworthiness directive issued by the Transport Canada limiting high-power climb operations.

Ni-Vanuatu flag carrier defended its choice of A220s and said that the incidents were related to early-series engines and likely caused by software issues.

"Like other operators and [future] customers including airBaltic, Air Canada, Air Tanzania, Delta Air Lines, EgyptAir, JetBlue Airways, Korean Air, and Swiss, we have full confidence in this aircraft. It has been certified to the latest regulatory standards and incorporates the latest safety systems. It is the most advanced aircraft in its class available today," Chief Executive Derek Nice said.

Air Vanuatu has two A220-100s and two -300s on firm order from Airbus Canada. The carrier is planning to take the first -100 in June 2020 and the second one in October 2020. The deliveries of the -300s are due in 2021 and 2022.