6 Oct 2005

Niue hopes New Zealand officials will be able to confirm new permanent air service tomorrow

8:32 pm on 6 October 2005

Niue's Premier Young Vivian says he has been assured that air services to the island will continue.

Niue is currently served by Samoa's Polynesian Airlines, which each week for the past three years has been diverting one of its Apia-Auckland flights to the island.

Those flights, which have been underwritten by the New Zealand aid agency, NZAID, stop at the end of this month when Polynesian Airlines becomes Polynesian Blue.

The new airline, a joint venture offshoot of Virgin Blue, has refused to continue the service.

Young Vivian says he hopes an announcement on a new permanent carrier will come tomorrow in talks with New Zealand Foreign Affairs officials.

But he says New Zealand has already committed to an interim charter service from the beginning of next month.

"And then thereafter we will have a service, if there are any problems. If we can get things finalised before the end of the week, then we will have one [a permanent service] immediately after the termination of Polynesian Airlines."