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By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (January 27, 1999 - Marshall Islands Journal)---Air Marshall Islands flew its last direct flight to Fiji this week, ending 15 years of service to Nadi and Suva. But the Majuro-based airline will continue to fly to Tarawa, Kiribati so that passengers can connect with Air Nauru to and from Fiji, according to the AMI general manager.

"International connections to and from Fiji will continue," said general manager Marc Mackay. There will be a twice-weekly service to and from Fiji via Tarawa, connecting with Air Nauru on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he said.

"This is part of the airline's strategic plan to facilitate international air transportation services," he said. "The only difference is that, for the foreseeable future, we won't be doing so using our own aircraft all the way to Fiji."

The British-built HS748, which has serviced the Fiji route since 1984, will see extra service during February for domestic flights to Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein and Kili islands, while also flying to Kiribati.

"The Tarawa flights have been scheduled to meet the Air Nauru flights in Tarawa so that passengers can still fly between Majuro and Fiji," said AMI's Jack Chong Gum.

Mackay, who is leaving for Germany this week as part of a delegation to meet with aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier about purchase of additional planes, said it was a priority for the airline to continue to ensure international access to the Marshall Islands.

"Let me state for the record that our first priority is and will always be our domestic service but that does not preclude the airline from working together with other regional carriers to realize better international services," he said.

Mackay indicated that on his return from Germany he will be meeting with Air Nauru executives to complete an alliance and code-share agreement.

MARSHALL ISLANDS JOURNAL Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: [email protected] Fax: 692-625-3136 Tel. 692-625-8143 Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year: US $87.00; International $227.00 (air mail)

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