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By Helen Greig

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, March 7) – Cook Islands Pacific Australia Limited managing director Tony Napa says his approved helicopter operation is still going ahead.

Napa expects the helicopter to be cleared to leave Australia this month.

The Raven R44 II Clipper is being fitted with extra requirements for an island hopping flight to Rarotonga, says Napa.

He was issued with a five-year license from September 1, 2004 to set up the operation.

Government initially declined Napa’s application because of public submissions against it, mostly on the grounds of the noise level, but just months later approved the air service license.

The helicopters are manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Co. and are sold worldwide for about US$350,000.

Napa says helicopter pilot Mark Foster will fly it to Rarotonga.

He says the helicopter operation is for the tourism industry foremost. Napa says he was in Rarotonga in January and had a number of discussions with airport officials. At the same time he also discussed the search and rescue benefits with police.

March 13, 2006

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