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Guam eyed as Micronesian hub for Nauru Airlines

Updated: Jul 5



By Pacific Island Times News Staff

 

Guam leaders have begun a dialogue with Nauru Airlines to explore air service expansion and consider a proposal to create a regional hub on island.


The meeting between Guam officials and Nauru Airlines executives discussed the possibility of opening direct flights between Guam and Brisbane, which would unlock the Australian market for the island.

 

“Guam's strong position as a Micronesian hub means that increasing airline services could create a ripple effect, boosting connectivity and economic opportunities throughout the region as a whole,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

  

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said the meeting this week was a follow-up to a regional discussion that commenced at last month’s Micronesian Islands Forum on Guam, where Nauru officials vowed to prioritize the opening of service in the U.S. territory.

 

“Keeping to our established goals at the MIF of increasing air transportation service to Guam and the Micronesian region, we are excited to continue discussions with Nauru Airlines in their pursuit of growing their offerings in our region,” Leon Guerrero said.

 

Nauru’s flag carrier currently flies routes from Nauru to Brisbane, Australia, Palau, Pohnpei, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Fiji.

 

At the MIF conference, Pacific island leaders adopted a resolution seeking the U.S. government’s assistance in bringing more carriers to stimulate air service competition in the region.

 

Pacific island leaders resolved to explore more options to expand air travel service in the region, which they noted was the "most expensive in the world.”


Air transportation was among the highlights of the communique signed by Pacific leaders, who "demand fair and reasonable pricing" from carriers serving the region.


Officials in suit standing for a group photo
Guam officials met with Nauru Airlines executives in Adelup on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the governor's office

“Expanding air service options is a benefit to our people and can open up opportunities to diversify our tourism base, which can lead to increased economic growth, resiliency and competition,” Leon Guerrero said.

 

Late last year, Nauru Airlines tentatively secured a foreign air carrier permit from the U.S. Department of Transportation, allowing it to operate scheduled passenger and cargo flights between Nauru and Guam, and Nauru and Honolulu via intermediary points.


The permit, which was issued based on a new application filed in May 2023, also authorizes the state-owned carrier to operate charter services between Nauru and any point or points in the United States.

 

The DOT initially granted Nauru Airlines permission to fly scheduled cargo and passenger flights to Guam using B737 equipment in 2017.


However, the five-year foreign carrier's permit lapsed without being used due to objections posed by Asia Pacific Airlines, which was compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic that sent world travel to a standstill.

Leon Guerrero led the Guam team during a meeting with Asterio Appi, Maverick Eoe and Geoff Bowmaker, minister, deputy minister and chairman, respectively, of Nauru Air Corp.,

 

“Although we are still in the very early stages of discussion, the governor and I believe that these are very important steps to see the viability of another airline like Nauru Airlines flying into Guam," Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said.


"A route linking Australia to Guam would help bolster our tourism industry and add another tourism market to our current visitor profile. Because of this great potential, not only did we have the Guam Airport officials with us, we have also asked the Guam Visitors Bureau to meet with these officials while they are still on Guam,” he added.





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