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Air Kiribati From Only Small And Old Aircraft, Now A Larger And New Jet

Looks like Air Kiribati will be flying around the Pacific Region soon. Pionair Aviation the Australian charter company are expected to provide pilots, engineering and certification for launching Air Kiribati’s
12 Jan 2020 12:39
Air Kiribati From Only Small And Old Aircraft, Now A Larger And New Jet
Crew of the new Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircraft with staff of Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport at the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Garry Wilkinson Photography

Looks like Air Kiribati will be flying around the Pacific Region soon.

Pionair Aviation the Australian charter company are expected to provide pilots, engineering and certification for launching Air Kiribati’s new Embraer E190-E2 jets.

Embraer announced the contract with the Government of Kiribati and Air Kiribati in 2018, with the order comprising of two E190-E2s and purchase rights for two more.

Late last year, an event was conducted in Embraer’s production centre at São José dos Campos, Brazil, celebrating the new delivery with the presence of airline executives and government officials. They included Kiribati’s Minister of Information, Communication, Transport and Tourism Development, Willie Tokataake.

The aircraft will seat 92 passengers in a dual class configuration, with 12 seats in business class and 80 seats in economy.

New Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircraft arrives at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Garry Wilkinson Photography

New Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircraft arrives at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Garry Wilkinson Photography

Major tourism boom

Air Kiribati acting chief executive officer and chairman of the Tourism Authority of Kiribati (TAK), Danial Rochford said: “I certainly believe these aircraft will certainly see a major boom in tourism in Kiribati which is already seeing some upswing in growth.

“This growth will be felt right across the nation in the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands and the World Heritage Listed Phoenix Islands because of these aircraft.”

Embraer suggested that with its maximum range of up to 2,850 nautical miles, the E190-E2 will enable the airline to fly longer domestic and international routes.

This includes nonstop from Tarawa, Kiritimati Island. This, the company explains, is one of the most challenging domestic routes in the Pacific.

The current travel from Tarawa to Kiritimati requires an international stopover in Fiji.

Kiribati – especially Kiritimati – is renowned for its game fishing. Fiji Airways already flies a Nadi-Kiritimati-Honolulu service.

It also operates a Nadi-Tarawa service.

“This is first E190-E2 delivered in the Pacific region,” said Cesar Pereira, Asia Pacific Vice President, Embraer Commercial Aviation.

“We’re are honoured that Air Kiribati selected the E190-E2 as the best fit for the airline’s challenging flying environment.”

Air Kiribati’s current fleet of small twin-engine turboprops are used for interisland domestic flights.

It has a bigger Dash 8-100 turboprop which it also uses to fly internationally to Tuvalu.

Garry Wilkinson Photography

Garry Wilkinson of Garry Wilkinson Photography posted on his Facebook page: “It was brilliant to be able to go airside to capture this absolutely brand new Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircraft when it landed at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport just after midday today 05-01-2020.

“(Just love the smell of the new leather seats!) The aircraft arrived from Darwin following a long series of ferry flights starting from San Jose Brazil on 31-12-2019.”

The ferry flight pilots of the New Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircratf after arriving at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Garry Wilkinson Photography

The ferry flight pilots of the New Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 aircratf after arriving at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Garry Wilkinson Photography

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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