14 Jul 2006

Niue freight air service to Tonga and Samoa may be re-started

3:25 pm on 14 July 2006

Plans for a freight air connection from Niue are likely to be resurrected as the island's fish processor gets ready for a huge increase in product.

Niue Fish Processing, which is run by Auckland-based Reef Shipping, has just announced that five long liners from French Polynesia will begin supplying the company from early next month, potentially leading to a 12-fold increase in exports.

When the company began operations more than a year ago, it started flying to Nuku'alofa using a Convair aircraft from Air Chathams, under contract to Reef Air, but the services were discontinued after a few weeks.

The CEO of Reef Shipping, Wayne Harris-Daw, says they are now in talks with Air Chathams again.

"We are looking to probably re-introduce Reef Air back into the market and they will be running a freight plane out of Niue into Tonga, Samoa, to interconnect with Air New Zealand southbound to Auckland and re-route it back that way, so that will increase our capacity. There is also an opportunity to run our freight plane up to Pago Pago and interconnect with Hawaiian."