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New air service will reunite and revive colonial friendship between Kiribati and Tuvalu

Air Kiribati’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tabokai Kiritome has reiterated the new flight schedule servicing Kiribati and Tuvalu will reunite and revive the colonial friendship of the past when the two countries were once known as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands under the British Empire back in the late 1960s.

In his key note address to launch the inaugural commercial flight of Air Kiribati’s Dash 8 on Wednesday last week, Kiritome said the new schedule will provide various travel options for the Tuvaluan travel community to connect to Australia, Solomon Islands, Majuro, Nadi and Asia through Air Kiribati and it’s airline partner’s network in particular Solomon Airlines and Air Niugini.

“I understand the Tuvaluans are longing to have more options than their traditional Funafuti/Nausori route and I am glad to say that your fellow island state has responded and offered these travel options and maybe more in the not too distant future.”

“On this note I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government, my fellow directors and our team at Air Kiribati and of course our mother ministry for their hard work in realising these travel options and Dash 8 will reunite and revive the colonial friendship opportunities for our people,” said Kiritome.

The airline chairman thanked the Government of Tuvalu and all relevant stakeholders that have worked tirelessly to secure the appropriate FAOC approvals from the Tuvalu Government.

“Without all your help, this process will be a difficult one and cannot be achieved within this shortest time possible,” he said.

The start of the commercial flight will certainly support the Kiribati Government Vision known as the ‘KV 20’ where the development and growth of fisheries and tourism sector in Kiribati is paramount.

“Our vulnerability and lack of participation in regional trade within this sectors is obviously evident with air and sea transport being identified as the key impediments that needs to be addressed to close these trade gaps.”

“I am proud to say that Air Kiribati wakes up to this call and through our new service which we consider in our own way to be small but meaningful, it brings these trade and tourism gaps closer. I trust that our people and private sectors from our respective countries will use the service and try to reap maximum benefits out of it, said Kiritome.

Meanwhile, the inaugural flight between Kiribati and Tuvalu marks the beginning of a new chapter in history of Kiribati’s bilateral discussions and the commercial partnership between the Government of Tuvalu and Air Kiribati is a major milestone achievement in the history of the two countries.

Farewelling the high level delegation from the government of Tuvalu, Kiribati’s Transport Minister,

Willie Tokataake said the inaugural flight will bring benefits and long term economic development of our two countries and people.

Minister Tokataake said the successful inauguration of the Tarawa – Funafuti sector last Wednesday marked the beginning of a new chapter in the two countries aviation development towards improvement in sub-regional connectivity.

“You are all aware of the challenges, our two countries faced, especially in relation to air services. But in spite of these challenges, I am indeed very proud to see our two small nations come together again to bring collective prosperity both economically and socially to both our nations.”

Minister Tokataake says the service will provide more travel alternatives and at the same time encourage our people who have strong traditional and historical ties to travel back and forth between Kiribati and

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