|Founded||14 February 1970 (as Air Nauru)|
|Headquarters||Nauru International Airport
Yaren District, Nauru
|Key people||Geoff Bowmaker (CEO)|
Nauru Air Corporation, trading as Nauru Airlines (formerly trading as Our Airline and Air Nauru) is the flag carrier airline of the Republic of Nauru. It operates scheduled international services to other Pacific islands and Australia. Its main base is Nauru International Airport. Its head office is on the property of Nauru International Airport, Yaren District, and its operations office is in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. On the 15 July 2014, the airline announced that it would change the name of the airline to Nauru Airlines, effective 1 August 2014.
Nauru Airlines was established as Air Nauru and started operations on 14 February 1970 with an experimental service between Nauru and Brisbane, using a chartered Dassault Falcon 20 registered VH-BIZ. Regular scheduled services commenced after the delivery in January 1972 of the airline's first Fokker F28 Fellowship, registered C2-RN1 (a second Fellowship, C2-RN2, was subsequently placed into service as well). A Boeing 737-200 (C2-RN3) was added to the fleet in 1975 and a Boeing 727-100 (C2-RN4) entered service on 16 June 1976. Later in the 1970s the two Fellowships were sold to Air Niugini and more Boeings were added to the fleet.
By 1983 the fleet included seven aircraft, two Boeing 727-100s (the second was registered C2-RN7) and five Boeing 737-200s (C2-RN5, 'RN6, 'RN8 and 'RN9 having been added to the fleet); since the entire population of Nauru at this time was about 8,000, the airline was in the extraordinary position of having seating capacity equal to 10% of the Nauruan population. The airline also had a bad reputation for cancelling flights at the whim of its government owners, including using the Boeing 727s for low-level searches for Nauruan fisherman lost at sea while relatives on board were served alcohol by the flight attendants. From this high point (at least in terms of fleet numbers) the airline gradually contracted in size, leasing some aircraft and selling others. Five years later in 1988 the fleet consisted of three Boeing 737-200s with the one remaining 727-100 leased out to Trans Australia Airlines. At this time the airline was badly affected by an industrial dispute with its pilots and was operating without a set timetable, a situation that lasted for several months. In 1993 two of the 737-200s were replaced by Boeing 737-400s (C2-RN10 and 'RN11), leaving the venerable C2-RN3 (kept because it was convertible between passenger and freight configurations) to soldier on for a little while longer. The airline, by now only operating a single 737-400, was corporatised in July 1996 as the Nauru Air Corporation (NAC) headed by a new CEO without ties to the government, enabling it to operate independently in a commercial marketplace, free from most of its government constraints.
In 1998 Air Nauru came under the regulatory control of the Civil Aviation Authority of Australia and since then has been a select foreign carrier holding an Australian Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). The island's regular economic troubles have caused the airline to lose large amounts of money, and on some occasions become insolvent. Its operations were also suspended for brief periods in the 1990s because of concerns raised by Australia over the airworthiness and safety record of its aircraft. Airline offices and equipment were also frequently repossessed by the Australian government for Nauru's repeated defaults on foreign loans. The airline has been in dispute with the Export-Import Bank of the United States since 2002, and in December 2005 the High Court of Australia upheld an earlier decision to allow the bank to seize Air Nauru's only aircraft, registered VH-RON, leaving Nauru and the island nation Kiribati without air services. The aircraft was seized by creditors at Melbourne Airport on 18 December 2005. Following the acquisition of a replacement aircraft (a Boeing 737-300) in mid-2006, the airline was rebranded as Our Airline and relaunched on 14 October 2006.
Nauru Airlines is wholly owned by the state and has 65 employees (at July 2012). On 26 November 2007, the airline launched its new website and online booking facility.
Nauru Airlines serves the following destinations as of July 2014:
|Majuro||Marshall Islands||MAJ||PKMJ||Marshall Islands International Airport |
|Nadi||Fiji||NAN||NFFN||Nadi International Airport|
|Nauru||Nauru||INU||ANYN||Nauru International Airport [Base]|
|Tarawa||Kiribati||TRW||NGTA||Bonriki International Airport|
Air Nauru once had a remarkably comprehensive network in the Asia-Pacific, with service to Hong Kong, Kagoshima, Taipei, Okinawa, Singapore, Guam, Saipan, Koror, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Majuro, Tarawa, Honolulu, Honiara, Port Vila, Noumea, Apia, Pago Pago, Nadi, Tonga, Kanton Island, Niue, Raratonga, Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Christmas Island. The average load factor throughout the network was around 20%, with many flights carrying no or few passengers. The Nauru government subsidized the airline with profits from phosphate mining. As the phosphate began to run out in the early 1990s, the airline began to stop service to unprofitable destinations.
Since relaunching services in 2006, the airline has repeatedly adjusted its route map. When the airline initially resumed services in 2006, it offered a twice-weekly service from Brisbane to Honiara, Nauru, Tarawa, and Majuro. These were quickly curtailed, with flights to Majuro eliminated. The Tarawa extension was suspended from July 2008 to November 2009 because, along with the high fuel prices, operating the Tarawa flight was not profitable without a connecting destination. The Tarawa extension was suspended again in 2011 because of disputes, but it was resumed in early 2012. Meanwhile, Honiara service was suspended around the same time.
Although it had been reported in early 2007 that Our Airline would begin services between Nauru and Fiji in the very near future, the airline instead provided once weekly Tarawa to Nadi service on behalf of Air Kiribati beginning in November 2009. However, the service between Nauru and Fiji which began in 2010 ceased in December 2011 due to the dispute between Kiribati and Fiji. This was replaced with a bi-weekly service that operated from Nauru to Nadi nonstop.
In 2012, the airline announced the resumption of service to Majuro. Today services are provided from Nauru to Brisbane, Nadi, Majuro, and Tarawa. These destinations are serviced by a twice-weekly flight from Brisbane to Nauru, with a weekly extension to Tarawa and Majuro and a bi-weekly extension to Nadi.
Services provided to Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island's Norfolk Jet Express and Norfolk Air had chartered Our Airline to fly its services Norfolk Island to Brisbane, Newcastle, Melbourne, and Sydney. Norfolk Jet Express went out of business on 4 June 2005 and ceased using Air Nauru's services. Norfolk would soon get a government operated airline, called Norfolk Air, but with no planes of its own, Qantas would then operate the flights from 11 June 2005 using Air Nauru's Boeing 737-400 VH-RON . This arrangement naturally ceased later that year when VH-RON was seized, due to Air Nauru's own financial problems. Other airlines filled the gap for Norfolk Air, but Air Nauru again started providing aircraft for Norfolk Air flights in April 2009. The Norfolk government closed down Norfolk Air in March 2012, with a new agreement that Air New Zealand will take over the Norfolk Island flights, using its own aircraft.
In March 2006, the government of the Republic of China, reportedly as a reward for Nauru's diplomatic recognition of the ROC instead of the People's Republic of China, assisted Air Nauru with the purchase of a second-hand Boeing 737, which was expected to be in operation by mid-2006, after several logistical delays. This purchase was put on hold in May 2006 due to OzJet and Air Pacific having started on the routes formerly operated by Air Nauru. In October 2006 the new Boeing plane came into service. The plane was registered as VH-INU and named as 'Naoero'. In 2008, Our Airline bought their second Boeing 737-300 with a full Norfolk Air livery until now although Norfolk Air has already closed down. The plane was registered as VH-NLK. Later in March 2013, Our Airline bought another Boeing 737-300 from GECAS. The plane was painted into Our Airline livery in Melbourne. The plane first visited Brisbane Airport on 3 September 2013. The plane is believed to put into service very soon.
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- Image of VH-BIZ retrieved 2007-09-22.
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- Population number derived from figures mentioned on Page 14 of this report retrieved 2007-09-22.
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- [dead link]
- "Air Nauru to serve Fiji route". Fiji Times. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- [dead link]
- "Fiji is Back!". www.ourairline.com.au. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- Air International, July 2005
- [dead link]
- "Our Airline - Fleet". ch-aviation.ch. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
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- Taiwan Switch Keeps Air Nauru Flying retrieved 2007-09-22.
- "Nauru shelves plans to buy a new plane after losing key air routes". Radio New Zealand. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-24.
- Our Airline B733 VH-PNI Retrieved 15 September 2013
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