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Once upon a time there was Air Nauru.

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Once upon a time there was Air Nauru.

Old 15th Jul 2014, 05:15
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Once upon a time there was Air Nauru.

Airline of the Central Pacific

Tuesday 15 July 2014
Nauru Air Corporation announces “NAURU AIRLINES”

Since 2006, Nauru Air Corporation has been trading as Our Airline and promoting co-operation amongst neighbouring countries to improve airline services in the region. The strategy has seen a number of new aviation initiatives and partnerships developed over the years since 2006 that have provided new services, linked new destinations and delivered more affordable travel in the region.

“I believe the Our Airline initiative has served us well over the last eight years” says Geoff Bowmaker, CEO “ however, also important is the very proud history behind Nauru’s servicing of its own, and the region’s, air transport needs going back more than the last forty years.”

“In recognition of the proud history of Nauru’s aviation achievements over these many years and the natural and primary role of the airline in servicing the people of Nauru, I am very pleased to confirm that effective 1 August, 2014, the trading name of Nauru Air Corporation will be re-named to NAURU AIRLINES” says Mr Bowmaker.

In his 46th Independence Day speech in January this year, His Excellency President of Nauru Baron Waqa foreshadowed this positive change, in conjunction with the impending arrival into service of the new all freight aircraft.

“I am pleased also to advise that the all freight aircraft is set to commence services to Nauru on Friday 1st August, bearing the proud external livery of NAURU AIRLINES” says Mr Bowmaker.
“This is a very exciting phase in the history of the airline and I congratulate and thank the entire NAURU AIRLINES family for all the dedicated and hard work that the whole team has put in to achieving these positive steps forward for the airline.”

Issued by: Geoff Bowmaker, CEO Nauru Airlines
Tuesday, 15th July, 2014.
............................................................ .............................................

This writer for one much prefers the original name of Air Nauru. It rolls of the tongue nicely. In those days, the pilots who flew for Air Nauru were mostly Australians, plus a few Americans, and New Zealanders. Among them were some who had flown Kittyhawks in WW2, Meteors in Korea and Caribou transports in Vietnam. The air hostesses came from all the different destinations on the network; each girl with her own individual personality and superstitions. Believe me, Pacific islanders can be very superstitious. To many of us old blokes who served in Air Nauru, the good old days were 1973 until 1988 when it fell in a heap after a bitter dispute between the Nauruan government of the day and the pilots. But the flying was good fun while it lasted. The destinations of its F28, Boeing 737-200 and Boeing 727-100 were really something. Especially to the old wartime airfields of which several are listed below.

Air Nauru had a remarkably comprehensive net work in the Asia Pacific with services to Hong Kong (the old Kai Tak airport), Kagoshima, Taipei, Okinawa, Singapore, Guam, Saipan, Koror, Truk, Ponape, Kosrae, Majuro, Tarawa, Honolulu, Honiara, Port Vila, Wallis island, Noumea, Apia, Pago Pago, Nandi, Tonga, Kanton Island, Niue, Raratonga, Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Christmas Island (Kirimati).

The average load factor throughout the network was around 20% with many flights carrying no or few passengers. Those were the last of the days when the captain donned his uniform hat and took a stroll down the back and talked to the passengers. Among the great variety of passengers travelling to exotic destinations, crews were often privileged to have former American veterans of the Pacific War returning for a visit to old battlegrounds.

We would invite them to the cockpit and where possible show them the battle fields from the air. Tarawa was one such battle ground on the tiny atoll of Betio which is surrounded by the beautiful Tarawa Lagoon. In that three day battle for the Japanese held airstrip in November 1943, over 1000 US marines and 4000 Japanese defenders lost their lives.

The Nauru government subsidized the airline with profits from phosphate mining. As the phosphate began to run out in the early 1990's, the airline began to stop services to unprofitable destinations. That was most of the old network. Someone invented a new name for the airline and called it Our Airline. And now it has changed once more.

Last edited by Centaurus; 9th Aug 2014 at 14:26.
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 06:11
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Once upon a time there was Air Nauru.

...because all change is bad and must be resisted and the world will happily let one love in the past.

Now people flying P-40s tend to start out flying airliners, that's simply how the world is.

Although I do agree that Our Airline sounds rubbish and means nothing outside of the boardroom.
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 06:20
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Courtesy of the Australian taxpayers
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 08:59
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Centaurus, excellent post......
I for one am glad it is changing its name. I don't think Our Airline really ever did 'cut the mustard, although I do think it was a clever marketing strategy in "sharing" the airline with other nations, so to speak. The old Air Nauru certainly did have its own personality and also some great history, war stories and characters. The 727's were superb and served their time well. I sometimes wish that fast cruising and quick decent capable aircraft like the old girls, which were also heavy on fuel and noise would return to the skies (along with DC9's and the early 747's ) Air Nauru's 727 livery was simplistic yet neat, and some of the interiors reminiscent of a 70's porn film. Yep, that's the way I liked my aircraft. If only The Gen Y and X kids flying today's metal (oops, I mean Carbon) could have spent some time on these beautiful machines
Anyway, it's good to see the airline are still around, although a little different today, but they are still around.

Thanks again for the great post Centaurus. (I'm a useless old fart with computers, maybe someone could upload a pic or two?)

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Old 15th Jul 2014, 09:52
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Great post. You obviously knew the old Air Nauru well.

The ex-Kittyhawk chap (PL) was near and dear to myself and I was so sorry to see how his time at Air Nauru ended. I really think it left him shattered.

I have no idea how they managed to get the old F28 as far as HKG and Kagoshima but they did and they never splashed one.
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 10:11
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Is the freighter a DC8???
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 10:19
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I forgot to mention a few of the stories such as cabin staff not turning up for flight because they had more pressing things to do with their time and carrying loads and lodas of eggs from island to island. I wasn't there but heard some of the stories from the oldies like my uncle.
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 13:02
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(I'm a useless old fart with computers, maybe someone could upload a pic or two?)
I'll have a go in the next day or two. I have used the "photo-bucket" website in the past for downloading to PPRuNe but often have troubles due also being a useless old fart too. Watch this space. Cent.
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 13:53
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Anyone interested in reading of Air Nauru tales of yore may like to Google the book "Tall Tails of the South Pacific" which was published by Self Publishing, Book Printing and Publishing Online - Lulu in 2009. Paul Phelan, the well known Australian aviation journalist, reviewed the book and an edited extract follows.

"Aviation’s storytellers have always been one of life’s finest gifts to those of us who never took the trouble to write it all down. Their product ranges from the hilarious aviation adventures recounted in Aero Club bars, to the output of raconteurs who’ve actually been there, seen it all, and (happily) preserved big chunks of it on paper.
Many a modern airline pilot’s career is launched before age 20. The pressure is on from Day One to build airline-related qualifications, and there’s little time to soak up the broader aviation environment or even to interface with its history and its myths.

That’s a shame because to know and understand aviation in our region as it is today, is to appreciate how it all came together. And quite a lot of today’s intricate safety awareness, systems and ethos were developed the hard way – learning by experience.
It’s therefore thanks to people like (Centaurus) who must have complied a mountain of detailed notes right throughout his colourful career, that today’s young pilots can reach back in time and appreciate the rich variety of events that shaped today’s more orderly aviation environment. There are plenty of people still in aviation who have similar backgrounds to him but very few have chosen to document it.

During those colourful years he flew Fokker F28s and early-model Boeing 737s around the Pacific in one of the world’s most challenging operational environments. Challenging because of the turbulent blend of long sectors, dodgy navaids, forecasts and communications, none-too-long runways, ad hoc management decisions and Melanesian office politics. At one South Pacific airline I once saw a comment on the crew room notice board: “Things are so confused here that people are going around stabbing one another in the chest!” Pilots who’ve been there will be familiar with that scenario, which is often more focused on tribal nepotism and internecine politics than on basic air safety tenets.

That kind of flying has always attracted pilots whose individualism led them away from the day-to-day grind of more conventional airline flying and they, along with their opposite numbers in engineering, have always been the cement that’s held most of the small Pacific states’ airlines together. The book is prolific in examples.

Tall Tails Of The South Pacific offers several attractions for the reader whose interest is the broader background to our aviation scene. It comprehensively brings together clear images of early postwar military, government, airline and general aviation in a single well-detailed canvas. The whole book – all the military and all the civil flying – is richly peppered with operational incident and events including close shaves and accidents, and also names, many of them well-known and some quite famous. Being written first-hand and with convincing detail, it draws humorous incidents entertainingly, and the related yarns help us to understand better what shaped Australasia’s 21st century aviation environment .
That environment continues to change almost daily according to corporate, industrial, regulatory and political pressures, and any young and aspiring pilot in these times will benefit from a deeper understanding of how the aviation industry reached its present condition – and of what needs to keep happening, to straighten the path ahead".
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Old 15th Jul 2014, 23:43
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No the freighter is VH-VLI a 733F which has been in Subang the past few months.
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Old 16th Jul 2014, 02:22
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Remember being on the tarmac at Faleolo when an Air Nauru boarding call was made, no pax came out from the terminal, but when I queried one of the crew what their payload was, I was told it was the mail for Pago Pago, and as we know, the mail must get through.
Old 16th Jul 2014, 04:10
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Australians, plus a few Americans, and New Zealanders.

And two Poms, one sadly deceased.
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Old 16th Jul 2014, 07:13
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Let's start at the beginning:

Departure of the first service from Brisbane, Eagle Farm on 14 February 1970.

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Old 17th Jul 2014, 00:30
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I have fond memories of Nauru. My logbook shows several flights in a HS-748 during the latter part of 1970, Suva, Funafuti, Tarawa, Nauru.

In those days there was a shortage of eligible men on the island, but a surplus of single women, mostly working for the Phosphate Commission and each accomadated in their own small cottage.

I will leave the rest of my story to the readers imagination, but suffice to say that the overnight was a most enjoyable stay.

Last edited by Exaviator; 17th Jul 2014 at 04:33.
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Old 17th Jul 2014, 04:20
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It was quite common for bored and jealous members of the Nauru police to cruise in their Land Rovers at night around the hosties single quarters and note the number plates of any expatriates parked outside. A warning then given to the hosties not to entertain expats in the evenings regardless how innocent the intentions of the visits were.

On a tiny atoll like Nauru (takes 20 minutes to drive around the whole country) it was amazing and disconcerting to hear about the gossiping. One classic story which was true, involved an Air Nauru flight engineer booking a six minute call to his wife in Australia. This was done through the Nauru international switchboard who told you when time was up.

Having gone well over the six minute call, the F/E remarked to his wife that he had better say his goodbyes as he had exceeded the paid for six minutes. The voice of the Nauruan switch operator interrupted his goodbye sweet nothings with "It's OK - you can keep on talking".. He had listened to the whole conversation.

This type of eaves-dropping had more serious ramifications when another private conversation was listened in to between an Air Nauru pilot who lived on Nauru with his wife and another pilot in Melbourne, in which conversation was about pilot industrial action that had just occurred. Within a few days the pilot living on Nauru was sacked by the Government. The conversation had been leaked by the switch operator to the President of Nauru.
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Old 17th Jul 2014, 05:30
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Okay - but whats wrong with Our Airline? They have brought up a reputable brand in the market so why change it?
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Old 17th Jul 2014, 13:33
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Okay - but whats wrong with Our Airline? They have brought up a reputable brand in the market so why change it?
No argument with that at all. Maybe the previous name of Our Airline did not really reflect the name of the island that owned it. Especially with overseas visitors booking their tickets and who would have no idea of the 40 year old history of the airline. An understandable name change.
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Old 17th Jul 2014, 19:20
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Old is the new new.

Like Centaurus I like the new old name.

I always felt that the name "Our Airline" smacked of self indulgence within the region.
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Old 22nd Jul 2014, 13:47
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Better than Farnborough. Air Nauru 737-200 at Nauru circa 1984. The 737 had just returned from Hong Kong after a new paint job and the President of Nauru asked the chief pilot (Captain M. Baston) to show the 737 off to the people of Nauru. He did it proud.
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Old 23rd Jul 2014, 01:10
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"No the freighter is VH-VLI a 733F which has been in Subang the past few months. "

Not in Subang any more.
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