Air Vanuatu names Tongan-born ‘Atu Fīnau as new CEO

Fokotu'u 'a 'Atu Fīnau ko e CEO fo'ou 'a e kautaha Vakapuna Air Vanuatu pea 'e kamata ngāue ia he lakanga' ni he uike' ni hili ha'ane mavahe atu mei 'Aokalani, Nu'u Sila he 'aho' ni 'i ha folau makehe ma'a e kau tukuvakā Vanuatu'.

Air Vanuatu has appointed New Zealand-Tongan resident ‘Atu Finau as its new chief executive officer.

Fly Niu owner ‘Atu Finau at the Auckland International Airport. Photo/Kalino Lātū

“In appointing you to this position the board has confidence in your professionalism and ability that you will successfully perform the role and responsibilities to the best of your knowledge and to working together carry out the vision of the current board as mandated by the Shareholders in the best interest of Air Vanuatu,” Sam Fin, the Chairman of the Air Vanuatu Board said in an acceptance letter to Finau seen by Kaniva News.

Finau, 56, has experience of more than 25 years as a licensed engineer and knowledge of all aircrafts in Air Vanuatu’s fleet including the ATR 72-500 and extensive experience in Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

He was expected to start in the new role this week after flying this morning from Auckland in a repatriation flight to Port Vila.

“I am incredibly proud to be given the job of nurturing and building on the legacy of an iconic company in the Pacific islands,” Finau said.

He said Air Vanuatu was deservedly recognised as one of the Pacific islands’ great airlines and that he looks forward to working alongside its people to take it to the next level especially while international airlines were expected to start flying early next year.

The appointment was effective 26 October 2020 about six years after Finau left the airline in 2014 as general manager.

He then returned to Tonga in an attempt to revive his Fly Niu airlines which was forced out of the kingdom about 16 years ago but it was unsuccessful after repeated meetings with Tongan authorities.

Finau said he was excited about his new appointment as he saw this as an opportunity to create a Tonga destination link with the Air Vanuatu.

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