NIUE AIR SERVICE PROBLEM CONTINUES INTO SIXTH WEEK

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ALOFI, Niue (April 27, 2001 -- Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---Niue has entered its sixth week without scheduled airline service.

The island's fragile tourist industry is in limbo as a $3 million resort, three motels and three guesthouses remain vacant.

Links with the island have been maintained by a weekly Air Fiji charter flight.

Negotiations are reported to be continuing with Royal Tongan Airlines and Air Rarotonga in a bid to establish scheduled link services to international flights via either Rarotonga or Nuku'alofa.

A direct roundtrip Auckland - Niue flight was terminated in mid-March after financially troubled Royal Tongan Airlines returned a Boeing 737-200 jet it leased.

Royal Tongan aircraft used on domestic routes in Tonga and for Tonga-Niue service also were grounded over certification problems but are now flying again.

Government sources in Niue say if Royal Tongan agrees to a link service it is likely to use a Shorts 360, but its passenger load could be reduced from 30 to 20.

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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