Kiribati and Tuvalu are to reconnect through a new air service.
The governments of Kiribati and Tuvalu have signed a new agreement this week establishing a new air service link between Tarawa and Funafuti with the hope the new air service will bring friendly relations between the two nations under the colonial rule of the British Empire.
The two countries governments have signed an agreement this week establishing a new aviation service linking Tarawa and Funafuti.
Welcoming the agreement in Funafuti, Tuvalu’s Minister of Communication, Monise Tuivaka La’afai underlined its importance as a catalyst to the economic development for the two countries.
Kiribati’s Minister of Communication Willie Tokataake said the agreement signified a new stage of co-operation that will benefit students and workers while encouraging visitors and travel between the two countries.
Kiribati and Tuvalu had previously been linked through British colonial ties as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.
Air Kiribati will use their newly acquired 37-seat Bombardier Dash-8 for the service and commercial flights will commence in the coming weeks once route proving test flights are completed.
Welcoming the agreement at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel, Minister of Communication from the Tuvalu Government, Monise Tuivaka Laafai said the aviation partnership is a catalyst for both nations’ economic development. “This service is more than just a link between two nations – it also represents an avenue for both nations to grow and prosper as we fly our nations forward together,” Laafai says.
“We were one people one government under one identity, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony, this history still exists to this stage despite the fact that we are now two fully independent and sovereign nations.”
Minister Laafai congratulated the Government of Kiribati for starting the new air service under the administration of President Taneti Maamau. He commended Kiribati’s Minister of Communication, Willie Tokataake for successfully accomplishing his mission.
In response, Minister Tokataake reiterated the signing marks the beginning of mutual beneficial arrangements with the hope to bring both Kiribati and Tuvalu even closer.
“We were all aware of the challenges of the two countries especially in relation to air services. The signing today is just the beginning that is starting to bear fruits for both the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu,” Minister Tokataake says.
He said the new air service will provide more travel alternatives for overseas students and workers and at the same time encourage more travel between the two countries.
The Minister and members of his delegation visited Tuvalu on the Air Kiribati Limited’s new Dash 8 aircraft on Tuesday and returned on Wednesday.
(Source: Radio New Zealand [RNZ] 22 December 2017)