13 Oct 2011

Air Kiribati dispute with Fiji drags out a month

4:06 pm on 13 October 2011

Fiji and Kiribati are no closer to resolving a month-long dispute that resulted in the sudden suspension of Air Kiribati flights between the two countries.

The CEO of Our Airline, which provides the aircraft and crew to operate the Air Kiribati flights between Nadi and Tarawa, says Air Kiribati has done nothing wrong.

Karam Chand says the Fiji interim government has misunderstood the contractual arrangement between Air Kiribati and Our Airline, which has been operating since November 2009 without issue.

"They are saying that Air Kiribati should have its own air operator's certificate but the reality is the air operator's certificate is with the operator which is Our Airline. So its really a matter of explaining to Fiji rather than anything else. The second thing I understand is the Fiji government always looks at the insurance certificate before it renews the licence and that's what happened with Air Kiribati. It's a misunderstanding between the different departments in Fiji from what I could gather."

Mr Chand says the Kiribati government formally responded to Fiji's allegations this week, and is waiting for a reply.

Flights will remain suspended until the dispute is resolved.