NAURU- Nauru Airlines (ON) has provisionally obtained a foreign air carrier permit from the US Department of Transportation (DOT), allowing it to operate regular passenger and cargo flights connecting Nauru with Guam International and Nauru with Honolulu through intermediate stops, as well as the authorization to conduct charter services between Nauru and any point or points within the United States.
In May 2023, Nauru Airlines submitted a request for an exemption under 49 USC §40109 and a foreign air carrier permit under 49 USC §41301 to operate scheduled and charter foreign air transportation services for passengers, cargo, and mail between Nauru and the United States.
Nauru Airlines US Flights
This application was granted in a decision released on September 21. In 2017, Nauru Airlines applied for and received a foreign air carrier permit issued by the DOT. However, the airline did not utilize those rights, and they subsequently lapsed.
The approval granted is valid for five years and is subject to certain conditions. While the proposed fifth-freedom combination services on the routes connecting Nauru to Guam (via stops in Tarawa, Majuro, and Pohnpei) and Nauru to Honolulu (via stops in Tarawa, Majuro, and Kiribati) as specified in the application were approved, the broader Nauru-US scheduled authority that Nauru Airlines had requested was denied.
The authorized scope of the scheduled operations is restricted to fifth-freedom scheduled services with a connection to Nauru, along with third- and fourth-freedom charter services. It does not grant permission for seventh-freedom services, whether they are scheduled or charter flights.
The decision specifies that any potential future services between (1) Majuro and Honolulu and (2) Tarawa/Kiribati and Honolulu must either be conducted as fifth-freedom scheduled services with a traffic link to Nauru, as outlined above, or the airline must apply for a charter statement of authorization to operate such seventh-freedom passenger and/or cargo charters on an ad hoc basis, in accordance with the terms and conditions of 14 CFR Part 212.
Aero Micronesia, Inc., operating as Asia Pacific Airlines (Guam), opposed Nauru Airlines’ application, alleging deficiencies and making several claims.
These included assertions that Nauru Airlines received subsidies from two foreign governments, which raised concerns about the applicant’s financial independence, the absence of a bilateral air services agreement between the United States and Nauru, and doubts about Nauru Airlines’ ability to comply with the Fly America Act and U.S. Postal Service statutory requirements related to the transportation of mail by air.
Nauru Airlines refuted these allegations, stating that it was not aiming to infringe on Asia Pacific’s operations. It had only operated flights in the region earlier in the year to fulfill critical supply needs while Asia Pacific Airlines was addressing an FAA grounding order.
Nauru Airlines indicated that its primary interest lies in providing passenger and cargo services between Nauru and Guam with intermediate stops, and it may consider offering similar services between Nauru and Honolulu.
“Nauru Airlines asserts that the FAA’s suspension of Asia Pacific’s services led to an emergency situation in several island nations. In response, Nauru Airlines was asked by some of the affected nations and by United Airlines (UA) to step in and address the urgent need for transporting backlogged cargo and mail with proper authorization under 14 CFR Part 375,” as stated in the DOT’s decision. “Nauru Airlines points out that Asia Pacific does not oppose the Department granting Nauru Airlines the previous authority that the applicant held.”
“With regards to Asia Pacific’s objection, we find that its concerns, when considered in the context of the entire record, do not provide a compelling basis to deny the requested authority. Additionally, we note that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has informed us that it has no reason to recommend unfavorable action on the applicant’s request.”
Nauru Airlines, operating as Nauru Airlines (Australia), maintains a fleet comprising two passenger-configured Boeing 737-300s, two 737-300(SF) freighters, one 737-700, and one 737-800(SF) that operates across the southwest Pacific region.
Besides its regular passenger and freighter services, the airline also operates a robust ACMI/charter business.
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