Fiji Airways Continues Our Flights: Kiribati

Kiribati chartered its first repatriation flight from Fiji on November 19, involving 62 nation­als.
25 Nov 2020 11:16
Fiji Airways Continues Our Flights: Kiribati
The Air Kiribati Embraer El90 E2 aircraft registered as VH-IKJ taking off from Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, Queensland

Kiribati has not set a date by which it will launch its new $90 million Embraer E190 E2, said to be the first region air­craft of its kind in the Pacific.

Kiribati high commissioner, David Teaabo, made the comment in Suva yesterday, follow­ing a presentation of $6,500 from KOICA Fiji to the Kiribati High Commission.

The Embraer is in Australia, pending techni­cal operations, he said.

”And COVID-19 hasn’t helped either,” Mr Teaabo said.

Kiribati will charter a Fiji Airways aircraft to repatriate its nationals from Fiji, he said.



“It costs $60,000 one way to charter such a flight,” Mr Teaabo said.

With over 600 nationals to be repatriated from Fiji and its neighboring island countries, the Kiribati High Commission needs at least $1mil­ lion to continue five of its proposed repatria­tion flights from Fiji.

KOICA Fiji country director, Jihi Kim, said the organisation would continue to explore av­enues to support Kiribati’s repatriation plans.

Korean ambassador, Shin-hee Cho, presented cartons of noodles to the Kiribati high commission in support of the repatriation effort.


First Repatriation

Kiribati chartered its first repatriation flight from Fiji on November 19, involving 62 nation­als.

“It was a success,” Mr Teaabo said.

“Our quarantine facilities can only cater for 62 nationals at any one time.

“We had to bring 50 per cent of them from the West to Suva for quarantine, before they flew out.”

The next repatriation flight is scheduled for the first week of December, he said.

Over 800 Kiribati nationals have been repat­riated from around the world, following COV­ ID-19, Mr Teaabo said.

Air Kiribati acquired the brand new Embraer E190 E2 aircraft in 2018 for the Pacific region. Kiribati’s contract with Embraer in Brazil included orders of two E190-E2s and purchase rights for two more.

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

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




Fijisun Ad Space

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.