Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Air Nauru: Tenth Anniversary Stamps, 1980

The microscopic Republic of Nauru, with its mere few thousand citizens, has had few indigenous subjects for philately, so its little wonder that the national airline was featured at least once. Air Nauru was in its fully glory at aged ten, fueled by phosphate profits and stretching as far away as Auckland, Melbourne, and Hong Kong, but Japan and Honolulu.

Tarawa, Kiribati was just one of at least twenty Pacific islands that the Boeing B727 and B737 jets touched down on, from Guam to Fiji, Okinawa to Rarotonga, Noumea to Niue. Air Nauru was in many cases (such as Tarawa) one of the few, or only, scheduled services to link these far-flung atolls to the outside world.

The airline's fate sank with that of its nation, as Nauru declined from tiny, wealthy island republic to shady haven for tax cheats and Afghan refugees. The airline declined from a fleet of more than five aircraft to a single jet, which was seized by Australian authorities for unpaid taxes in December 2006.

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