12 May 2005

Air Nauru risks losing its only plane due to debt

10:30 am on 12 May 2005

Air Nauru says its business as usual, despite an Australian court ruling the airline owed almost 12 million US dollars in overdue aircraft lease payments.

The ruling also gave the Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, acting for the U.S. Export Bank, rights to repossess the airline's only Boeing 737.

The actual owner of the plane is the Nauru Air Corporation, an agency of the government of Nauru.

Lawyers for Nauru Air Corporation are preparing to appeal the ruling at a hearing scheduled for May 20th.

Air Nauru currently provides the only north-south air service in the central Pacific, and flies a weekly return air service linking Australia with Solomon Islands, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Fiji.

Although Air Nauru went through a period in the late 1990s where its inconsistent arrivals coined it the legendary name of "Air Maybe," it has since built a record of reliability on its Pacific routes.