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High salaries, free tickets among complaints

By Royson Willie PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Nov. 3, 2009) – The Spokesperson of the Alliance bloc in the Opposition, Mr Jack Erick, has congratulated the shareholders of the national airline for its decision to terminate the full board of Air Vanuatu, but that one other factor that has crippled the airline is that of overpaid managers.

Erick alleged that the Opposition has discovered that the airline pays out a total of an alleged amount of over Vt8 million [US$84,193] each month to eight general managers of the airline.

This action to terminate came four days after Air Vanuatu became the only airline in the region to have the youngest fleet of aircrafts from Y-12, ATR, to Boeing.

This amount is the total of salaries and allowances per month for the eight general managers of the departments within the airline, Erick alleged.

He said the amount did not include salaries of staff in Port Vila and Santo and other agents.

The Alliance bloc spokesman said this issue of high salaries and allowances is part of the problems that is crippling the aircraft such as tickets issued free of charge.

"The Alliance bloc strongly asks the ministry concern to consider the state of the airline operation and target better services for the country.

"Now that the Director Generals are appointed as board of directors, how much more will a DG earn from Air Vanuatu to his salary?

"The Alliance bloc understands that Director Generals of government ministries earn more than elected members of parliament, therefore the newly appointed board of directors should sacrifice their service to get the airline back on track but not to ‘suck up all the blood’ from the airline."

The Air Vanuatu board was recently terminated by shareholders and are replaced by the DGs for Finance, Public Utilities and Prime Minister’s Office.

Daily Post contacted the DG for Finance to get a reason behind the sacking of the board but he was not available to comment along with finance minister Sela Molisa who was overseas.

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