The Republic of Nauru, with an area of 21 square km the world's smallest independent republic, is a tiny once-rich atoll. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands, and almost on the equator at 00 32.7S, 166 55.1E.

Formerly known as Pleasant Island, Nauru's extensive phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium and the island was occupied by Australian forces in World War I. Nauru achieved independence in 1968. The past 90 years of intensive phosphate mining have left the central 90% of the island a wasteland. At the same time, maladministration has left the once-wealthy nation in dire economic straits since the phosphate supply has become exhausted.

The photo above shows Nauru as it was in 1988, looking east-south-east. The airport (INU/ANAU) has a single 5,700 ft runway 12/30 and is served by a VOR/DME and an NDB. The photo below shows the view on short final for runway 12 - note the T-VASIS and the lack of over-run stopways.

A public road runs around the end of the runway close to the threshold and the terminal is hidden out of sight behind trees halfway up the runway on the left. In the trees on the right are Parliament House, government administration offices and the Police Station. Later on, a cantilever for loading superphosphate on to ships was built out into the water on the approach to this runway.


Read more about Air Nauru in the story, A Merry Tale of Air Nauru

(Photos: John Laming collection)


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