31 May 2013

Air Marshalls borrows money to fix plane

4:44 am on 31 May 2013

Air Marshall Islands, the government-owned national airline, is to borrow two and a half million US dollars to pay companies involved handling a major overhaul of the airline's Dash-8 aircraft in Australia.

The 30-seater twin-engine aircraft has been out of service for over 18 months.

Airline officials said the initial cost for the scheduled overhaul was pegged at one point six million, but the price tag skyrocketed by an additional two point five million.

Once the detailed maintenance work was underway, engineers uncovered problems with one of the engines, which is now in Canada being overhauled.

Engineers also discovered severe corrosion in the body of the plane necessitating major replacement work that accounts for the vastly elevated price tag.

On Wednesday, a government official confirmed that the airline, with the government's backing, has obtained a loan to clear the debt to complete work and get the plane home.

Air Marshall Islands has only one other aircraft in operation, a 19-seat Dornier.