|Founded||1 April 1995|
|Hubs||Bonriki International Airport|
|Headquarters||Bonriki, South Tarawa, Kiribati|
|Key people||Iosabata Namakin (CEO), Tinian Reiher (chairman of the board of directors)|
Air Kiribati Limited is the national airline of Kiribati operating passenger services within the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati, and to Fiji. It also operates charters, medical evacuation and search and rescue services. Its main base is Bonriki International Airport, Tarawa Atoll.
Until 2008, it was the only airline to operate Kiribati domestic routes. In January, 2009, a new airline was established, Coral Sun Airways, that also flies to all of the Gilbert Islands.
The airline was established and started operations on 1 April 1995, after the collapse of the previous national airline Air Tungaru, which had been formed on 31 October 1977. In March 2004, Air Kiribati ended its international operations. It is owned 100% by the government of Kiribati.
Air Kiribati operates domestic flights linking all Gilbert Islands. The Line Islands and Phoenix Islands are too far for direct flights. Until 2004, Aloha Airlines connected Honolulu to Kiritimati on behalf of Air Kiribati, but Aloha went out of business, so the route ceased. Since 4 October 2005, a new service was operated by Fijian Air Pacific, every Tuesday, from Honolulu, with 24 places chartered on each flight by Air Kiribati, but this service was suspended as well, in 2008, due to the deteriorated surface of the Kiritimati runway. Thus, Kiritimati remains unserved today, but Air Kiribati's only rival airline, domestic Coral Sun Airways, is examining the purchase of a new aircraft capable of flying to the remote Phoenix and Line Islands, having 41 and 8,809 inhabitants, respectively, but all unserved by scheduled passenger airlines. However, an American company called Te Mauri Travel offers charter flights between Honolulu and Kiritimati.
Flight diversions can also be arranged when required. Medevac and SAR are always considered priority.
Air Kiribati's 17 destinations are the following:
- Abaiang - Abaiang Atoll Airport
- Abemama - Abemama Atoll Airport
- Aranuka - Aranuka Airport
- Arorae - Arorae Island Airport
- Beru - Beru Island Airport
- Butaritari - Butaritari Atoll Airport
- Kuria - Kuria Airport
- Maiana - Maiana Airport
- Makin - Makin Airport
- Marakei - Marakei Airport
- Nikunau - Nikunau Airport
- Nonouti - Nonouti Airport
- Onotoa - Onotoa Airport
- Tabiteuea North - Tabiteuea North Airport
- Tabiteuea South - Tabiteuea South Airport
- Tamana - Tamana Airport
- Tarawa - Bonriki International Airport Hub
The Air Kiribati fleet consists of the following aircraft (at November 2013):
In December 2007, the Kiribati Government approved a request by Air Kiribati to purchase two Canadian made Twin Otter aircraft. Each plane is reported to cost USD 3.3 million, but Air Kiribati's CEO Baraniko Baaro reports the purchase is a wise move which will save money currently used for the frequent repairs the aging air fleet requires. In addition, the new planes boast higher fuel efficiency, have room for more passengers and cargo and require less runway length than the current fleet, which may be of benefit on the airstrips of Kiribati's outer islands.
- Flight International 27 March 2007
- Kiribati government gives their national airline the green light to purchase planes. Radio New Zealand International, 12-26 December 2007. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
- Air Kiribati To Acquire Two Twin Otters. Pacific Magazine, 12-22 December 2007. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
- Why Kiribati's Switching Alliance. Pacific Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
- Official website (English)