When the owner of Air Melanesia closed all flights through out the Republic of Vanuatu in the late 80’s due to a dispute with the new Vanuatu Government, the whole of Vanuatu was affected.
The late PM and founder of Independence, Walter Lini appointed Edward Nipake Natapei, Sela Molisa and Peter Taurakoto to over see the planning of a new domestic airline and they were also tasked to source funds to ensure this happens.
Air Melanesia commenced operations 1965 as a joint venture between two existing airlines, the British-owned New Hebrides Airways (founded in 1963) and French-owned Société Néo-Hébridaise de Transports Aériens, known as Hebridair (founded 1964).
Following the successful negotiations by the team, they managed to source funds to buy out Air Melanesia from it’s owners and launched our own domestic Airline then known as Vanair.
Vanair eventually merged with Air Vanuatu in 2004 when Serge Vohor became Prime Minister.
Though Air Vanuatu was started in the late 80’s it only flew international flights. With the merger with Vanair it allowed the Airline to fly both domestic and International.
It is an achievement worth mentioning as we do fly now in our own colors.