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By Berna Gorong

COLONIA, Yap (The Yap Networker, Sept. 24) – Palau Micronesia Air, a newly formed regional airline that started service in August, has gotten the attention of Continental Micronesia and effectively caused a price reduction on airfares within Micronesia.

For the past 30 years, Continental Micronesia has been the only airline for travel between the Micronesian islands.

Continental Micronesia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines and is headquartered in Guam. It offers more than 290 departures each week between 22 cities throughout the Pacific Rim, the Micronesian islands and Hawaii with a fleet of 13 next-generation Boeing 737 narrow body and 767 wide body aircraft.

According to airline’s press releases, Continental Airlines is the world’s sixth-largest airline with more than 2,800 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental serves 149 domestic and 117 international destinations – more than any other airline in the world – and nearly 200 additional points are served via code share partner airlines. With 41,000 mainline employees, the airline has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and carries approximately 51 million passengers per year.

Palau Micronesia Air was formed in 2001 by five Palauan businessmen and initially named Rock Island Air.

In 2003, the airline’s name was changed to Palau Micronesia Air to reflect other investors within Micronesia and their commitment to the regional airline.

The airline is headquartered in Palau with services to six destinations, including Yap, Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Manila, and Darwin Australia.

The airline has one Boeing 737-300 aircraft in service with plans to acquire a second aircraft slated for the end of 2004.

Despite the disparity between the two airlines, Continental Micronesia has taken notice of its new competitor and has matched the lower fares of Palau Micronesia Air for September to shared destinations.

For Yap-based travelers, many are finally echoing the sentiment expressed in the Continental flyer, "it’s the price that you’ve been waiting for".

October 1, 2004

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