Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Tuesday 3 March 2015
A United States company in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against Air Kiribati for fraud and misrepresentation.
The news comes days after Air Kiribati itself claimed it was taking the company CAAMS Llc to court for failing to deliver a second Twin Otter aircraft that Air Kiribati said had been paid for in full.
But CAAMS Managing Director, Everette Mash, told Koroi Hawkins not only have they not paid in full for the second twin otter....
EVERETTE MASH: Well the situation is we actually delivered one Twin Otter already to Air Kiribati. And they were giving us, or trading in a CASA 212-200 as a partial trade in for the first Twin Otter. When we delivered the first Twin Otter we had a team of engineers over there to do the acceptance and while they were inspecting the CASA 212 to ferry it back to the US they noticed there was extensive corrosion in the airplane and the FAA engineers told them to take the tail off the airplane which they did and there was all kinds of corrosion in the Horizontal stabilizer area. The airplane should not have been flying. So Air Kiribati signed an amendment to the contract to repair or pay for the costs to fix the CASA and they never did. So we are in the process we have another Twin Otter that we were getting ready to deliver to Air Kiribati but we haven't delivered it yet because they haven't delivered the CASA to us yet.
KOROI HAWKINS: And so the, just so I have got this right. With all this in play, have they paid you for the second Twin Otter?
EM: No they have not paid all the money for the second Twin Otter and plus they, like I said we took the CASA 212 in on trade for 1.5 million and they never delivered the CASA. We had the CASA OEM the manufacturer give us a quotation to bring the airplane back from Kiribati to the US and they told us that the CASA cannot be flown back to the US without an extensive amount of work. So they recommended that they ship it back to the US and then we'd start the work here. We have already estimated over 900,000 US dollars just in parts that need to be put into the CASA to make it airworthy. Plus the 300 and something thousand that the manufacturer wants to charge us to bring the CASA back, so this is a very complex lawsuit.
KH: If you would like to make a final statement in regards to where this is all at, at the moment and what you are working towards in terms of resolving or getting some closure on this for your end?
EM: Yeah what needs to happen is that Air Kiribati needs to send one of their representatives over here and we sit down and discuss the matter. I mean they have clearly, in the lawsuit they clearly acknowledge there is a problem with delivering the CASA to CAAMS but they don't want to resolve it. They just want, go ahead and deliver the second Twin Otter then we will discuss how we are going to solve the issue with the CASA and the CASA should have been delivered to us a year ago. They have had plenty of time to have the manufacturer go over there and fix the airplane and they have done nothing but let it sit out there on the runway or on the taxiway.
Article and audio: http://www.radionz.co.nz