20 Jan 2009

Air Marshall Islands plane still to be fixed

1:10 pm on 20 January 2009

Domestic flights in the Marshall Islands are still on hold, after a part delivered to fix the airline's damaged plane, turned out to be for the wrong wing.

The Air Marshall Islands plane suffered damage to its right wingtip when it ran into a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration antenna tower next to the runway apron while being towed to its hangar.

Our correspondent in the Marshalls, Giff Johnson, says the mistake means the plane will probably not be up and running until the weekend.

"The country went eight months without any domestic air service from late '07 until early-mid '08 and it's been on and off since then, because thenational airline, the government owned airline has had only one plane serviceable. Air Marshall Islands has leased a Dornier 228, which is a 19-seat commuter plane from Australia. It left Australia Monday, it is expected to be in the Marshalls Wednesday and to be in service very shortly after that."

Giff Johnson says the arrival of the new plane means some of the outer islands, which have not seen a plane for 17 months, will resume air service.