TURBULENCE AHEAD FOR SMALLER PACIFIC AIRLINES, SAYS AVIATION CENTER

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ALOFI, Niue (January 1, 2000 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---Small Pacific national air carriers, such as Royal Tongan Airlines, will face turbulence in 2001, reports the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Center managing director Peter Harbison said the double whammy of fuel price hikes and the stronger U.S. dollar squeezing discretionary travelers' dollars will make 2001 a difficult year.

He said smaller airlines will need to code-share and join global alliances or their market share advantages will be eroded.

Meantime, Royal Tongan Airlines has announced plans to continue to service Niue in 2001 but it now seems likely that a government subsidy will be necessary on the weekly Tonga-Niue-Tonga flight using a Shorts 360 aircraft.

Also, the Boeing 737-200 Auckland to Niue return service on Sundays is likely to continue, but any reduction in the $NZ 1,288 (US$ 572) air fare is unlikely.

This puts Niue is an awkward position for tourism promotion, when its neighbors are offering four-night packages for as low as NZ$ 699 (US$ 311), including accommodation.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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