29 Sep 2005

Marshalls hit by rising fuel prices

3:39 pm on 29 September 2005

Local businesses in the Marshall Islands are reeling from fuel price hikes, which in some cases have risen 50 percent in a year.

Air Marshall Islands, the country's domestic carrier, was forced to raise its ticket prices at the beginning of September for the first time in 13 years only to see ticket revenue drop by 35 percent, as passenger numbers plummeted.

Despite the revenue decline following the 20-percent rise in ticket prices, Air Marshall Islands may raise prices again.

Meanwhile, Bikini Atoll's scuba dive operation, which markets dives on a World War II fleet that was sunk by American nuclear tests in the 1940s, is in jeopardy because of rising fuel costs that threaten to price the destination out of the market.

A Bikini liaison agent Jack Niedenthal says fuel costs to run the dive operation have jumped from 290,000 dollars to 400,000 dollars.