VANUATU'S VANAIR TO DECIDE ON NEW AIRCRAFT

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (April 26, 1998 - PACNEWS)--The General Manager of Vanuatu's domestic airline, Marangkon Alilee, says Vanair will decide within the next few weeks whether or not to purchase a Dash 8-100 aircraft from Australia's Flight West Airlines.

One of the two planes on sale was in Vanuatu last week making demonstration flights before departing for Fiji, Vanuatu Weekly reports.

Alilee says Vanair is interested in acquiring one of the aircraft, but favors a lease arrangement.

He says Flight West Airlines has offered a $US 9 million purchase package for the two aircraft, including training and spare parts.

Vanair has been contemplating acquisition of the aircraft for both domestic and regional international service. He says the original proposal was for both Vanair and the national airline, Air Vanuatu, to jointly use the aircraft. After financial assessments were made, however, Air Vanuatu withdrew from the deal.

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