4 Jun 2007

Continental Micronesia defers plan to stop cargo service to Kwajalein Atoll

6:37 am on 4 June 2007

The Guam-based air carrier, Continental Micronesia Airlines, has deferred its announced plan to halt cargo service to the U.S. army's missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The airlines move is in response to an offer made by the base commander to talk over the army's recent tripling of airport handling fees.

Continental's vice president, Walter Diaz, says communication with Kwajalein's test range Commander Colonel, Stevenson Reed, has led to an agreement to hold further talks to work out a mutually agreeable cost structure.

The Army and Continental have been wrestling with the ground handling fees, which the army more than tripled from 500 US dollars to over 1,500 dollars.

The Army raised the fees October 1, 2005 without notifying Continental but didn't start billing the air carrier until earlier this year, when it handed Continental a bill for 600,000 for nearly 18 months of ground handling fees.

Later, the army agreed to waive the fee adding that Continental should not have to pay for its error.

But the new ground handling fees are now in effect.