September 2, 2008

Kiribati Looking for Alternative Airline to Serve Kiritimati

Text of report by public broadcaster Radio New Zealand International on 2 September

[Newsreader] The Kiribati government says the decision by Air Pacific to suspend flights to Christmas Island [Kiritimati] was made suddenly. [Fiji's] Air Pacific, the only international airline which flies into Christmas Island, is stopping the flights over the state of the runway.

Permanent Secretary for Communications and Transport in Kiribati Kietau Tabwevweiti says they are aware of the airline's concerns, but he says the government's priority is now to conduct its own study on the runway.

[Tabwevweiti] We don't know how long it will take. But we want to assure everybody that we will try and push ahead and try and complete at least a study which will enable us to decide our position or our stand on the issue. I'll try and have that study completed as soon as possible so that we can make a stand and then proceed on if necessary into the more crucial requirement to undergo any repair or maintenance work on the runway.

[Newsreader] Kietau Tabwevweiti says they are now looking at other airlines which might start an interim service.

Originally published by Radio New Zealand International, Wellington, in English 1100 2 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.