Media Release 20 May 2021: AVL welcomes the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines

Airports Vanuatu Ltd (AVL) yesterday welcomes the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through Port Vila Airport.

Vanuatu’s first COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Port Vila Airport

AVL is pleased to announce that Port Vila Airport saw the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines into Vanuatu yesterday. Our freight team at Vanuatu Terminal Services were instrumental in receiving and processing the freight delivery which arrived from Brisbane on Air Vanuatu. Our Pacific and global partners have committed to supporting the provision of vaccines to all Pacific Island nations, through the COVAX Facility; the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries. This first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines are earmarked to be administered to prioritised groups of people such as health workers and frontline workers.

Men carrying a COVAX tagged box containing COVID-19 vaccines.
Credits: UNICEF Pacific 2021 / Bax.

Jason Rakau, CEO of AVL commented, “I am delighted to see Port Vila Airport and Vanuatu Terminal Services playing a pivotal role in receiving the very first batch of vaccines to arrive to Vanuatu and wish to thank the Ministry of Health and the COVAX Facility partners including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, WHO and partners like UNICEF, the World Bank and others. Receiving these vaccines is the first step in vaccinating our population. The vaccination programme will prioritise the inoculation of the most vulnerable. In the first phase roll out, frontline staff working in aviation including AVL’s team will receive their vaccinations, which will enable them to work with increased confidence, as they perform their critical roles in enabling air access and facilitating passenger and cargo movements”.

COVID-19 vaccines will enable Ni-Vanuatu to feel confident about the return of international visitors

The aviation community’s frontline workers including AVL staff will take a leadership role in being vaccinated through the first phase of the vaccine roll out programme. Rowland Kalsong, Group Head of Operations commented, “AVL staff are proud to be among the first to be vaccinated and demonstrate our support of the vaccination programme. We look forward to the AVL Team receiving their vaccinations and leading the way in supporting our nation to get vaccinated and enabling us to re-engage with the world”.


About Airports Vanuatu Ltd AVL is the proud owner and operator of three airports, in Port Vila, and on the islands of Santo and Tanna. AVL’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 AVL. Tel: 25111 or International Direct Dial +678 25111 Email: Web: Address: PO Box 131, Port Vila, Vanuatu, SW Pacific