RMI pursues Honolulu air service

The Aviation Task Force met Monday this week with two Cabinet ministers to brief them on the proposal for Majuro-Honolulu air service. Seated from left: Jerry Kramer, Transportation Minister Hilton Kendall and NRC Minister Tony Muller. Back: Sophia Fowler, John Hawley, Anoop Kumar and Carlos Domnick. Photo: Eve Burns.

RMI’s Aviation Task Force briefed two Cabinet Ministers this week on the proposed joint AMI-Nauru Airlines Majuro-to-Honolulu air service in hopes of gaining RMI government backing to launch the service in 2024.

The possible Majuro-Honolulu-Majuro route has been discussed for the past two years by the Aviation Task Force, but is getting a new push with the new government of President Hilda Heine in place. The ATF met with Transportation Minister Hilton Tonton Kendall and NRC Minister Tony Muller to discuss funding opportunities for the start up of the service that would feature AMI and Nauru Airlines in a partnership arrangement.

“ATF is hoping that the current government will assist ATF to get this into action,” said a release from the Cabinet-appointed group.

The Aviation Task Force is waiting for the Australian government to provide a soon-to-be-completed aviation study of the Majuro-Honolulu route that is being carried out by Deloitte based on a request of the ATF to the Australian Embassy in Majuro. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its Majuro Embassy are supporting the study, which is expected to be issued next week.

The aim is to invite executives of Nauru Airlines to join the ATF for a presentation to Cabinet later this month about the proposed service start up costs.

Nauru Airlines launched Brisbane to Majuro, Pohnpei and Palau service over the past 18 months and did so with the funding support of the Australian government in the start up phase.

ATF officials make the point that while the Nauru Airlines-AMI proposal for the Honolulu service will need funds for its launch, “RMI entities will be benefiting for this additional airline for this route.”
Services providers such as catering of food and beverages, hotels for crew accommodation, airport landing fees, AMI ground handling fees, fueling tax and others.” 

In related aviation developments, it was reported at Tuesday’s ATF meeting that Nauru Airlines can provide special flights for the Micronesian Games but needs to be provided with the number of passengers to be picked up from Honolulu for the games.

For Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae to Majuro, the ATF can ask Nauru Airlines for special service “as long as we can get passenger numbers for athletes, coaches and officials traveling into each island.”

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