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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (June 16, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---Majuro’s Amata Kabua International Airport became a pilot-friendlier destination overnight with the reduction in fees charged.

Airport Authority general manager Jack Chong Gum said last week that the Authority has dropped the $75 over time charge that was previously required for each of the customs, immigration and other local officials required to clear a plane for landing in Majuro outside of normal working hours.

The high cost of landing in Majuro for planes being ferried across the Pacific -- sometimes in excess of $600 for a few minutes of paperwork -- has for many years given Majuro a reputation as a destination to avoid.

"We fixed the overtime problem," Chong Gum said, adding that employees are now being paid overtime at the standard time-and-a-half their regular salary rate. "Before, the pilots were charged about $600 on average," he said. "Now it’s down to $40. We’ve received positive comments from transiting pilots."

Chamber of Commerce officials had earlier criticized the exorbitant overtime fees being charged, saying they were reducing the number of ferry planes that come through Majuro.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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