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Penguin News Update

Friday, January 9th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Memorial moves closer; No agreement reached over charter flights; Charter companies replace Tristar; Malvina House sold; Cruise visits this week.

Memorial moves closer

THE construction of a permanent memorial at the Argentine war cemetery at Darwin, in memory of Argentines killed in the 1982 conflict, has taken another step forward. Ken MacKenzie, Regional Manager of the company AWG Construction Services (Falklands) Ltd, said a contract worth around $US 160,000 has been signed by his company and Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, the organisation which is responsible for designing and producing the memorial. It is understood that building the memorial in Buenos Aires cost one million US dollars, and was reported to be mostly funded by an Argentine businessman, Eduardo Eurnekian. The size of the memorial had to agree with dimensions requested by the Falkland Islands Government's Planning and Building Committee. An Argentine engineer is expected to represent the client and supervise the work. The memorial will contain the names of all 649 Argentines killed during the war. The cost of erecting the memorial at Darwin has decreased considerably from an original estimated cost of $US 500,000, mainly because all the foundations have been pre-cast in Buenos Aires, so reducing the amount of work which AWG will be required to undertake in the Islands. "We will be responsible for digging holes and dropping the tubular foundations which have adjustable tops to ensure that they are level," said Mr MacKenzie. He added that it is hoped that the memorial will arrive in the Islands around January 20, with a construction time of 56 days allowed under the contract. The lack of a mobile crane to off-load the massive blocks, from a ship, when they arrive in the Falklands, may yet delay the arrival of the memorial. Mr MacKenzie said, "It has been made clear through the British Embassy in Buenos Aires that an Argentine registered vessel, carrying the memorial to the Islands, will not be acceptable and I understand that officials of Aeropuertos Argentinos 2000 are still looking for a suitable ship." Councillor Richard Cockwell yesterday confirmed there had been no representations made by any Argentine officials wishing to attend the inauguration ceremony once the memorial is completed. Last month, the Argentine Defence minister, Jose Pampuro, was reported as saying he hoped to attend the ceremony without having his passport stamped. Falklands councillors responded strongly to Pampuro's statement, saying any visitor to the Islands, official or not, would have to go through the standard immigration procedures, including the stamping of passports. PN/MPThe Argentine war memorial is presented to the public at Ezeiza Airport. (Photo: P Pepper)

No agreement reached over charter flights

IT HAS been impossible to reach agreement with Argentina over charter flights, Legislative Council has announced. For a number of months, the United Kingdom has sought to reverse Argentina's decision to suspend permission for charter flights to the Falkland Islands to use Argentine airspace, however Argentina has not co-operated. Spokesperson for Legislative Council, Councillor Richard Cockwell yesterday said Argentina was informed that, "...the United Kingdom was prepared to enter into discussions about ways of building on existing arrangements for air links between the Falkland Islands and the South American mainland. "But it was made clear that any future arrangements must be acceptable to the Falkland Islanders, that the Falkland Islanders were not prepared to accept a scheduled service by an Argentine carrier, and that the suspension of charters must be lifted before any such discussions could start." Councillor Cockwell said he and his colleagues had been kept, "...fully informed and closely consulted," about the UK Government's exchanges with Argentina about charter flights. However the exchanges have not led to agreement with Argentina. Councillor Cockwell said, "This means there is little prospect of charter flights to the Falkland Islands being authorised to hoverfly Argentine airspace for the rest of the tourist season." He added that this ban also seems likely to affect charters for the next tourist season. Councillor Cockwell commented, "The cancellation of the charter flights will obviously have some negative impact on the local tourist industry. However, councillors believe that the principles at stake outweigh short term economic costs."

In brief

Charter companies replace Tristar

DUE to operational commitments, the military air bridge from the United Kingdom to the Falkland Islands is to be operated by charter companies for a six month period. From January 20, the first sixteen flights (until late June 04) to the Islands will be flown by British Midland International aircraft. The remaining twenty-four flights will be operated by Air Luxor. Both companies will operate Airbus A330 aircraft. A military spokesperson said the charter will replicate the current service: "There will be no reduction on the service offered by the Tristars of 216 Squadron."

Malvina House sold

THE sale of Malvina House Hotel to Stanley Services Limited has officially taken place. Tom Swales, Managing Director of Stanley Services Ltd said the acquisition will, "...add strength to its existing Tourism and Travel Division and it demonstrates the confidence that the company has in the future of the Islands' economy and the tourist sector." Mr Swales added that it is the company's aim to, "...continue the excellent work," undertaken by the hotel's former owner, Mike Rendell, over the past twenty years.

Cruise visits this week

CLIPPER ADVENTURERwill spend the day in Stanley tomorrow. Polar Pioneerwill spend Saturday at Sea Lion Island and Sunday in Stanley. On Tuesday, Vistamarwill be in Stanley. On Wednesday Vistamar will head to West Point.

Inside Penguin News

 Page 2 - New Year Honours Page 3 - Wool ships out Pages 4 - Raft Race Page 7 - Director of Agriculture signs off Centre - Racing Coverage

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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