AIR PACIFIC RETURNS TO TARAWA, KIRIBATI

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TARAWA, Kiribati (December 15, 2001 - Kiribati NewStar/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's Air Pacific -- which once provided all of Kiribati's air services -- has begun special flights to Tarawa as a result of the continuing grounding of Air Nauru.

An Air Pacific Boeing 737 flew the Nadi-Tarawa-Nadi route on Wednesday. Inquiries by the NewStar indicate Air Pacific may operate another flight this Wednesday, depending on whether Air Nauru is operating again.

Air Nauru in recent years has provided Kiribati's international air links south to Fiji and Australia, as well as to Nauru. But its flights have been grounded because Australia's Qantas says it will not provide any more maintenance until Air Nauru pays its overdue bills.

Continuing problems with Air Nauru services have led the Kiribati government to plan for Air Kiribati to acquire an ATR72 aircraft to provide links to neighboring countries.

For additional reports from the Kiribati NewStar, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Kiribati NewStar.

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

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