DAVID FULLBROOK / SINGAPORE
Airline to wet-lease a single Boeing 737-800, with first twice-weekly flights to Taipei due to begin in November
A new airline is being formed which aims to serve the growing market for scuba diving on the island of Palau in the Pacific.
Palau Trans Pacific Airlines (PTP) plans to link remote Palau with key cities in east Asia over the next year. It expects to fill its single wet-leased Boeing 737-800 with divers heading to Palau. Currently the trickle of tourists mainly come from Japan and Taiwan.
Twice-weekly flights to Taipei start in November and services to Manila, Seoul, and possibly Hong Kong, are due to begin from the middle of next year, subject to air services agreements being negotiated, says PTP founder and chief executive Frank Ho.
Palau's sole air service agreement is with Taiwan. Deals with the Philippines and South Korea should be agreed by March as both have given a warm response to proposals from Palau, says Ho. Agreement with Hong Kong is expected to take a little longer to work out.
Asiana and Air Philippines are interested in flying to Palau or codesharing once a framework for services is finalised, says Ho.
PTP is wet-leasing an Inter-national Lease Finance-owned 737 from Mandarin Airlines. Once PTP firms up services to other destinations, the aircraft will become the first registered in Palau, be painted in the carrier's livery and eventually crewed by Palauans, hopes Ho.
Source: Flight International