PASSENGERS STRANDED BY AIR NAURU GROUNDING

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CANBERRA, Australia (February 4, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Hundreds of travelers have been stranded in the Pacific following the grounding of Air Nauru's only aircraft in the Philippines.

Air Nauru's Boeing 737-400 was impounded in Manila on a Philippines court order following claims that debts of more than $Aus1 million ($US 682,000) have not been paid. The debts are alleged to have accrued over the past 15 years.

Negotiations over the release of the aircraft are continuing and a court session to reconsider the case has been scheduled for Friday.

Meantime, charter services are now maintaining air links between Nauru and both Australia and Kiribati.

A group of 30 Australian businessmen were among 140 people who arrived home Tuesday after being delayed on Nauru for 10 days. Another 50 Australians are expected to arrive home today aboard a chartered aircraft from Kiribati.

...PNS

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