Monday 3 October 2022

Nauru Airlines wins Australian tender


Nauru Airlines is expected this month to resume air service linking Brisbane with islands in the central and north Pacific that it halted two and a half years ago due to Covid border closures in the region.

Nauru Airlines was the successful bidder for an Australian-government program that will subsidize the service as its re-launches.

Australian Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Brek Batley said that Nauru Airlines won the tender from Australia's Pacific Flights Program last week.

This positions the airline to receive funding from Australia to support it during the initial phases of resuming a service that the airline had operated for decades prior to multiple islands closing their borders in early 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid.

Australia's Pacific Flights Program was initially established "to help airlines and provide humanitarian aid during Covid," said Batley, who said Australia supported 450 flights to 10 countries in the region since the pandemic hit in 2020, upending air service.

Now, with countries reopening and air travel resuming, the Pacific Flights Program is focused on supporting air routes where it is needed by subsidizing the service, so it becomes commercially viable, he said.

"We're thrilled to work with governments in the region to rebuild these links and put Covid-19 in the rear-view mirror," Batley said. "This should help families reconnect, business and tourism to grow, and the friendly ties between our nations to deepen even further."

Australia is supporting two north Pacific air links from Australia: Brisbane-Nauru-Tarawa-Majuro-Pohnpei and Australia-Palau. Nauru Airlines CEO Captain Robert Eoe announced the airline's intention to resume the Brisbane through to Majuro service on October 16. Initially, it is anticipated as every two-week service.

Batley said Pohnpei will be added to the service when Nauru Airlines is ready. Once the service to Majuro and Tarawa resumes, it also offers travellers an option to get to Fiji from Nauru.

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