26 Jun 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

1:19 pm on 26 June 2021

China steps up for Pacific vaccines; Nauru fast-tracks seabed mining; Fiji's MAX planes welcome back to NZ skies, and; Samoa to receive its new jet.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is welcomed to Fiji during his first visit to the Pacific island nation in November 2014.

China's Xi Jinping on a state visit to Fiji in 2014 Photo: Fiji govt

China steps up for Pacific vaccines

China's President Xi Jinping says his country is ready to step up vaccine supply and other support for Fiji's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a phone conversation with the Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Mr Xi said China will set up a China-Pacific Island countries reserve of emergency supplies.

He promised to help Fiji and other island countries improve their ability to cope with major public health incidents and natural disasters.

Nauru to fast-track seabed mining

The Nauru government is set to ask the International Seabed Authority (ISA) this week to fast-track the adoption of seabed mining regulations.

Its a sign of growing pressure to launch the controversial new industry reports Reuters.

A source with direct knowledge told the media outlet Nauru would send the request to the ISA on June 30.

The so-called 'two-year rule' would compel the ISA to allow seabed mining to go ahead within two years, effectively setting a deadline for the body to finalise mining regulations.

Fiji's MAX planes welcome back to NZ skies

Aotearoa's airline watchdog has given permission for the beleagured Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to fly again over New Zealand.

Crashes involving the planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019.

The Civil Aviation Authority says after a comprehensive safety review it has granted Fiji Airways approval to resume flights to New Zealand using two of its five Max 8 aircraft.

The remaining three are still being checked.

The Authority says only Fiji Airways uses the planes in New Zealand at this stage. Samoa Airways was to lease one of the aircraft but cancelled that arrangrment in early 2019 when the 737 MAX was grounded worldwide.


One of Fiji Airways Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Photo: Boeing/Fiji Airways

Samoa new jet to touch down in July

Samoa's national airline is due to receive its new Boeing 737-800 on 13 July.

The Dutch leasing agency will be deliver the plane to Brisbane on 2 July where it will complete air worthiness certification before Samoa Airways pilots fly it home to Faleolo.

All flight, cabin and ground crew will then undergo a two-week operational training on the new plane.

It's expected the 160 seat aircraft will initially service charter flights between Apia and Brisbane via Nuku'alofa.