28 Sep 2009

Air Marshall Islands losses cloud its future

12:34 pm on 28 September 2009

The future of the domestic air service in the Marshall Islands is in doubt after a recent audit report highlighting financial mayhem due to mechanical problems with its aircaft.

Air Marshall Islands has been owned and managed by the government for nearly 30 years, but with both its planes grounded for several months during 2008, a bail out three million US dollars largely funded by Taiwan has propped up the service.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says people living on the 24 outer atolls and islands that are linked by the airline to Majuro have been seriously affected.

"There are only a few routes in the country that are commercially viable, but having a service that's reliable particularly for medical evacuations is so essential to helping people on these very remote outer islands."

Giff Johnson says the President, Litokwa Tomeing, has told Parliament he is interested in selling the airline as it is a huge drain on government resources.