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August 2021 results and reflections on the 9/11 20-year anniversary

Airports Vanuatu wishes to provide an update to our stakeholders on our operations in August 2021.

Airports Vanuatu reflects on 20 years since the tragic events and impact of 9/11
Tomorrow, Saturday 11 September 2021, marks the 20th anniversary of the events that shocked the world, when four aircraft were hijacked in the United States.

Jason Rakau, CEO of Airports Vanuatu commented, “No one can forget the shock they felt that day. Our hearts broke for the victims and their families. The security responses made in the immediate aftermath we still see today and the screening of passengers changed forever. The events that day affected us all, and I am sure everyone can recall where they were when they witnessed the shocking footage for the first time. At that time, I was a student at Massey University in New Zealand, looking forward to a future career in aviation. I wondered if aviation would ever be the same again. The shock at the time was profound, but three years later in 2004, passenger volumes exceeded those before the tragic events of 9/11 and the aviation industry did recover. It was forever changed, but it recovered.
20 years on, we face another challenge, in recovering global air connectivity and balancing the risks of Covid-19. On the one hand, we all want and need to connect, to be part of a global community. On the other hand, we must have strong measures in place to protect public health. Our borders have been closed for 18 months now and as Airports Vanuatu and our aviation, border, tourism, and health partners work on the processes and protocols which will enable international air travel in the future, I continue to encourage every Ni-Vanuatu resident to get vaccinated and play their part in protecting our nation and enabling the reopening of our borders for travel”.

August 2021’s passenger results
Domestic air travel results for August 2021 are encouraging. Passenger movements across the three airports are up 42% on the same month last year, although still 37% down on August 2019, when markets and borders were fully open.

  • Domestic passenger movements for August comprised 24,700 departures and arrivals across Airports Vanuatu’s three airports. The graph below illustrates the twelve-month rolling domestic passenger movements, which bottomed out in March 2021 and have been trending up each month since.

  • International air travel continues to operate in a limited capacity under the direction of the National Disaster Management Office. 2,300 international passenger movements were processed in August 2021. Repatriation flights are currently paused.

Rowland Kalsong, Group Head of Operations commented, “The statistics on domestic air travel this month look really promising. August saw the highest number of domestic passenger movements since borders closed, with the exception of December and the peak activity generated by Christmas. The current avgas supply issues will likely impact sustaining this momentum in September, highlighting how critical freight is to maintain our connectivity, as an island nation. We offer our support to our airline partners through this challenging period and look forward to them receiving their avgas supplies as soon as possible“.


About Airports Vanuatu 
Airports Vanuatu is the proud owner and operator of three airports, in Port Vila, and on the islands of Santo and Tanna. Airports Vanuatu’s airports and our airline partners work together to facilitate safe, secure and reliable air access for international visitors to travel to and from our island paradise and for ni-Vanuatu to work and play, flying domestically and to the rest of the world.

Media contact
For further information, please contact Jason Rakau, Chief Executive Officer of Airports Vanuatu.

Tel: 25111 or International Direct Dial +678 25111
Address: PO Box 131, Port Vila, Vanuatu, SW Pacific

August 2021 results and reflections on the 9/11 20-year anniversary - Port Vila Airport
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