26 Apr 2008

Tourism director unsure of Air Marshall Islands

8:38 am on 26 April 2008

The tourism director for Bikini Atoll says he is sceptical about the reliability of the Air Marshall Islands despite its services resuming after mechanical faults grounded two of its planes.

The airline conducted a successful test flight of its 34-seat Dash-8 plane after its services were halted more than six months ago.

AMI's now under pressure to get its other aircraft, a 19-seat German-made Dornier 228, back in service.

But the manager of the Bikini Atoll scuba diving business Jack Niedenthal says he's sceptical because his company's reputation has taken a hit since the grounding of the planes.

He says his company relies on airplanes to transport customers.

"There's no other way to do this kind of business. You have to understand that Bikini, the operation we have up there, we do relatively deep diving. And the reason why you need an airplane is so that you can do medivacs is somebody gets hurt. You have to be able to have a plane to get up there and get the person off."

Jack Niedenthal.