Air Kiribati (IK, Tarawa) has announced plans expand its fleet capacity over the coming months with the ultimate aim of introducing a maiden jet aircraft during the first quarter of next year.

In April, i-Kiribati Minister for Communications, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD), Wille Tokataake, told Radio Kiribati the Q100 (Dash 8-100) would be deployed into service in July to help boost existing domestic services.

“The plane also has the ability to reach Canton Island as well as service many of the Gilbert Island airstrips and some nearby international ports, according to sources at flight operations in Air Kiribati," he said.

Air Kiribati currently operates regular flights across the I-Kiribati archipelago which comprises thirty-three atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island, Banaba. As part of plans to develop international services, it has entered into a partnership agreement with Solomons - Solomon Airlines (IE, Honiara) wherein the Solomonian carrier will run a weekly return service between Honiara and Tarawa effective July 12.

“Air Kiribati has already announced that it will form a partnership with Solomon Airlines to start services in the coming months from Tarawa to Honiara, Fiji and Brisbane Int'l and they are also in discussions on other options our airline can boost international services,” Tokataake added.

To help foot the new fleet's bill, air fares were increased across the board from May 1 onwards.