TOURISM, trade and investment opportunities were opened up for Pacific island micro states with the launch of the inaugural North-South air link by Our Airline on Tuesday.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) Minister for Public Works Hiroshi Yamamura said the Nadi-Majuro service would not only open up new opportunities but also offer air travellers competitive prices. Air travel in our part of the region has been very costly, a round-trip ticket from Majuro to Tarawa costs over $US6000 ($F10,639).
"Thanks to Our Airline, this will be reduced to less than $US500 ($F886.53). This is a clear sign that Our Airline will revolutionise travel in the region," he said. Nauru's Finance and Education minister, Roland Kun, emphasised the critical importance of having a national carrier.
"Air services, shipping and communication connections are very important to economic development for micro states due to the fact that we cannot produce everything we need for the state to be viable.
"Our Airline was born out of the ashes of Air Nauru because we recognised that there was an absolute need to bring a commercial air service into the region that would both be accessible in price and provide the level of service that was required.
"Commercial operators would not commit to this without a subsidy by government," he said.
Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji chief executive officer Netava Waqa lauded the initiative by the airline and the governments of RMI and Nauru.
"The achievement is timely given that last week we celebrated civil aviation day with the theme 'Aviation, Your reliable Connection to the World'," he said.
The carrier operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300 aircraft operating under Australian civil aviation regulations.