|Founded||1 April 1995|
|Hubs||Bonriki International Airport|
|Headquarters||Bonriki, South Tarawa, Kiribati|
|Key people||Tarataake Teannaki (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. In 2017, the Airline is to take ownership of a Dash 8 100 series to undertake domestic and short haul international services.
Air Kiribati operates domestic flights linking all the Gilbert Islands. The Line Islands and Phoenix Islands, with 41,000 and 8,809 inhabitants, respectively are too far from the Gilbert Islands to be considered commercially viable to serve these from Tarawa although Air Kiribati's only rival airline, domestic Coral Sun Airways, was examining the purchase of a new aircraft capable of flying Tarawa-Kiritimati. It is possible to fly Tarawa to Kiritimati, but only via Fiji. Kiritimati, Line Islands, was served, until 2004, by Aloha Airlines from Honolulu on behalf of Air Kiribati until Aloha went out of business. From 4 October 2005, a new service was commenced by Air Pacific, now Fiji Airways, every Tuesday, from Honolulu, with 24 places chartered on each flight by Air Kiribati. In 2008 this service was suspended because of deterioration of the surface of the Kiritimati runway, which had been deemed unsafe after an inspection by Air Pacific personnel and specialist runway engineers; service resumed on 25 May 2010. During the suspension an American company, Te Mauri Travel, offered "interim" charter flights to Kiritimati. Kiritimati is now served regularly by a weekly Fiji Airways return service from Nadi-Kiritimati-Honolulu.
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 April 2018):
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.
Air Kiribati has received its first new Dash 8 100 series aircraft which touched down at Bonriki International Airport from Canada on 31 October 2017 With 37 passenger seats, the aircraft is pressurised and will have inflight cabin service. Tarataake Teannaki(CEO) said the arrival of the Dash 8 aircraft will solve all the flight concerns of the people in the Southern Gilbert Islands through its main flight hub in Tabiteuea North. The Dash 8 is expected to fly to Tabiteuea North, pick up passengers from the Southern Gilbert Islands who will be flown to Tabiteuea North via Air Kiribati’s smaller aircraft stationed on the island to pick passengers from the Southern Gilberts and vice versa.Teannaki said the only four outer islands where the Dash 8 aircraft can land are Tabiteuea North, Abemama, Butaritari and Nikunau. The aircraft will also make international flights to neighbouring Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
(Source: Kiribati – Airline: Radio Kiribati 01 November 2017)
- Flight International 27 March 2007
- "Air Pacific Suspends Flights To Kirimati (Christmas) Island". Air Pacific, 29 August 2008. Retrieved on 19 Oct 2008.
- Air Kiribati website. Air Kiribati fleet. Retrieved on 2018-04-29.
- "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2017): 19.
- 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.
- "Air Kiribati Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
- Why Kiribati's Switching Alliance. Pacific Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-09-16.
- Official website (in English)