Air Nauru Stops Flying

Air Nauru is no longer operating after the U.S. government's Export-Import Bank took possession of the company's Boeing 737 aircraft at Melbourne last Saturday. An Australian court allowed the seizure after the troubled airline was unable cover loan payments on its jet.

If Air Nauru doesn't manage to come up with the money fairly soon it will be the end of 30 years of service which saw the carrier flying all around the Central Pacific and as far afield as Hong Kong, Koror, Apia, Pago Pago, Noumea, and Auckland. Air Nauru discontinued their Nauru, Pohnpei, Guam, Manila route in 2001, and since then they've focused on providing regular flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Honiara, Nauru, Majuro, Tarawa, and Nadi.

Once one of the richest countries in the world, Nauru's fortunes declined as its phosphate reserves were mined out. Current mining revenues are just one percent of what they were during the boom years two decades ago. The A$1 billion in the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust has also been squandered on bad investments, and Nauru-owned buildings in Melbourne, Honolulu, Manila, Guam, Saipan, and Washington have been sold to pay creditors. The well is now dry, although there's a slight chance that Taiwan will bail Air Nauru out once again.

Update: Air Nauru took delivery of a new aircraft in June, 2006, and is flying again. For the current schedule, visit Air Nauru.

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