THE newly established Palau Micronesia Air is expected to start operations in April with services from Koror to various Pacific and Asian destinations.
Alan Seid, president of Palau Micronesia Air, said the new regional airline now has a contract with Air New Zealand, which will provide the flight crews and aircraft maintenance support necessary for Palau Air to start operating.
James Bradfield, the airline company’s chief executive officer, said they originally planned to start the flights in December, but they encountered several problems caused by Air New Zealand’s prior operational commitments.
“We did our best to leap those hurdles, but have come to the conclusion that an April start is (a more) appropriate launch date,” Bradfield said.
According to Air NZ, Palau Micronesia will have no engineering and operational infrastructure of its own but it will operate its two B737-300 aircraft under Air NZ’s airline operating certificate.
Further, Air NZ pilots will initially fly Palau Micronesia Air routes while local flight crew were trained by the New Zealand carrier’s training organization to operate the aircraft to Air NZ standards.
The new airline is expected to provide twice weekly flight schedules to Guam, Japan, Manila, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.
“We’ve put a lot of thought and research into the needs and traffic patterns within the region, as well as destinations with significant traffic to and from Micronesian points, and we feel we can provide unique routings and services to significantly contribute to the betterment of the total air transportation needs of the people in this region,” Bradfield said.
He added that the company has received enthusiastic response from across the region to its advertisements for staff.
With a start date scheduled, Palau Air will now be contacting the applicants and begin the process of selecting, employing and training staff.