AIR MARSHALL ISLANDS-AIR VANUATU CONTINUE

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AVIATION TALKS

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 12, 1998 - Marshall Islands News)--- A possible long term lease agreement for Air Marshall Islands' (AMI) Saab 2000 is under discussion between AMI and Air Vanuatu.

Air Vanuatu, which used the Saab on a charter basis last year for flights between Fiji and Port Vila, has been interested in a long term deal for the plane. The South Pacific airline has also been attempting to purchase its own Saab 2000.

Saab official Peter Greensmith was in Majuro late last month to meet with AMI's board to encourage the deal between AMI and Air Vanuatu.

AMI officials said they would like to see a long term lease arrangement approved, as leasing the Saab to Air Vanuatu would bring in much needed cash to the airline. The HS748 would then be used to operate the Fiji route and domestic flights.

The deal hinges partly on AMI getting the Saab back in service. It has been grounded for more than a month awaiting the installation of a serviceable engine.

The repaired engine for the Saab arrived in Majuro last weekend and is expected to be installed shortly.

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