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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 7, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Vanuatu's flag carrier, Air Vanuatu, will begin operating a new jet-prop SAAB 2000 airplane beginning February 15.

Managing Director Jean-Paul Virelala said in a press statement today that the 50-seater aircraft will be used on daily flights between Honiara and Noumea, New Caledonia, replacing a 15-seat plane, and, beginning April 1, three days a week to Nadi, Fiji, Radio Vanuatu reports.

Services will be expanded again in May, Virelala added, to provide a regional capacity of 700 seats per week.

The introduction of the new service will provide excellent access to Vanuatu for Japanese and European tourists coming through New Caledonia, he said.

Negotiations are now underway for seat-sharing arrangements with Solomon Airlines and Fiji’s Air Pacific on these routes.

Maintenance of Air Vanuatu’s SAAB 2000 will be provided by Air Pacific.

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