14 Mar 2006

Marshall airline loses nearly five million in three years

9:59 am on 14 March 2006

In the Marshall Islands the latest Auditor General's report show the national airline lost nearly five million US dollars over the three years from 2002 to 2004.

It lost nearly two million in both 2002 and 2003, and another one million in 2004.

The audit, filed late last week with the parliament, or nitijela, also shows that the Marshall Islands government injected one and half million dollars into the airline during fiscal years 2002 and 2003, and another 1.85 million through to mid last year.

Air Marshall Islands general manager Dan Fitzpatrick, who took over management of the airline in mid-2004, says that preliminary indications are that 2005 was one of the airline's best years, with losses well under one million dollars.

He says reducing the number of unprofitable flights to sparsely populated outer islands helped reduce the losses last year.

A major part of the national airline's financial woes centred around unpaid government travel.