Air Vanuatu cancels flights as government considers voluntary administration

(Reuters) -Air Vanuatu said on Thursday it had cancelled international flights for the rest of the week, as the Pacific Island nation's government considered placing its national carrier into voluntary administration.

All of Air Vanuatu's international flights between Thursday and Sunday are cancelled, and all later flights are under review, the airline said in a statement.

"The Vanuatu Government is now considering placing Air Vanuatu ... into voluntary administration," and Ernst & Young has been appointed to advise the government, the statement said.

Air Vanuatu operates only four aircraft between the country's islands - which rely heavily on tourism - and to Australia, New Zealand and other South Pacific islands.

The airline on Wednesday had said several flights were cancelled because of extended maintenance requirements for its aircraft.

Virgin Australia flights between Brisbane and the Vanuatu capital Port Vila are still scheduled, data from FlightRadar24 shows.

Australian carrier Qantas Airways said it is supporting its codeshare customers who were booked onto Air Vanuatu flights.

Australian budget airline Bonza last week entered voluntary administration, cancelling flights after its aircraft leasing partner terminated its relationship with the firm.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Jamie Freed and Gerry Doyle)