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New deal opens Kiribati to flights from Australia

July 11, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The Australian Government has settled inaugural air services arrangements with Kiribati, opening up opportunities for airlines to establish a commercial presence in the Australia-Kiribati market for the first time.

Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) is an island nation in the central Pacific, on the equator, due north of New Zealand. The permanent population is about 100,000, more than half of whom live on Tarawa Atoll.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said air services arrangements with Kiribati were the 13th set of arrangements Australia had in place with Pacific island countries and territories.

The agreement represented “a significant step forward in developing Australia’s overall bilateral relationship with Kiribati and our Pacific neighbours more broadly,” Chester said.

Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati

“Australia’s new air services arrangements with Kiribati will further tourism, trade and people-to-people links between our two countries.

“The new arrangements create opportunities for our respective airlines to operate up to a total of seven services per week between Australia’s major gateways and Kiribati, as well as an unlimited number of services to regional locations, including Darwin, Cairns, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.

“Airlines of both countries will also be able to utilise the highly liberal code sharing provisions to expand their global networks and connectivity through cooperative marketing arrangements with partner airlines.

“In order to cater for the growing level of trade between Australia and Kiribati, airlines will be able to operate an unlimited number of freight-only services.

“It’s great to see this arrangement finalised as part of delivering on the Government’s aviation priorities.”

The principal attraction on most islands of Kiribati is the unspoiled charm and traditional culture and lifestyle. The website SaveKiribati.com notes: “Air transportation presents a major constraint for tourism development in Kiribati. Kiribati is not located on major air routes.

“Tarawa has only two airline carriers offering international air services: Our Airline and Fiji Airways. Service is once or twice per week.

Most visitors originate outside the air service points (Brisbane, Australia and Nadi, Fiji) necessitating connecting services with possible layovers and high fares.

Written by Peter Needham

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