New domestic airline here

By JYOTI PRATIBHA Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited has been awarded 11 licences by the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji Licencing Board to service the Fijian domestic airline market. The
23 Aug 2012 11:52

The president and of Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited team. From left: Inter Island Airways (Fiji) director of flight operations, Viliame Lomaloma, vice-president and chief financial officer, Aida Avanessian, chief executive, Barney Sene and managing director, Drauna Waqasokolala at the Westin Resort on Denarau Island in Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA


Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited has been awarded 11 licences by the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji Licencing Board to service the Fijian domestic airline market.
The company has been given the licence to service routes from Suva to Nadi, Labasa, Savusavu, Taveuni and other outer islands.
Company president and chief executive, Barney Sene revealed to Sun Business they would start servicing the routes within six to eight months.
Mr Sene said with the awarding of these licences, Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Ltd would begin investing in the detail and heavy lifting work of bringing the new airline up and operational in Fiji.
Although the operations have been confirmed to be from the Nausori Airport, Mr Sene said their main focus was to address the reliability of service to the Northern islands, mainly Savusavu, Taveuni and Labasa.
Inter Island Airways operates out of American Samoa and its main base of operations is at the Pago Pago International Airport. It operates modern Dornier 328-110 and Dornier 228-212 turboprops on regional and local flights.
The issuance of this licence is expected to bring about competition amongst airlines servicing the domestic routes and also provide employment to over 150 people in the country.
Mr Sene said: “Any competition is always good and in the airline business, we are all colleagues.
“We are looking at the opportunity and we believe that some competition is very good. We prefer to be in a competitive environment than a non-competitive one.”
Business friendliness
In terms of attraction for investment, Mr Sene said he found policies in Fiji to be investor-friendly and at the same time, the processes involved in awarding of the licence to be very transparent.
“There is transparency in processes in Fiji, which assists in moving things forward. It is a much cleaner process,” he said.
“When we applied for our licence, we were expecting the approval process to be more difficult because we are coming in from outside but the process was very transparent where in some countries, it is not as transparent.”
Mr Sene believes Fiji has the people he needs for his airline.
“In the Fijian market, there is a big talent pool of pilots and engineers. In Pago Pago, for example, we sometimes are short of staff-pilots and engineers,” he said.
“We also saw this as an opportunity to create a pool of pilots and engineers for us, because we will be using the same aircraft types and we can leverage the same people either in Pago Pago or in Fiji- which will create a long time plan for sustainable resources.
“When we looked at the Fiji market, we looked at a couple of things; the opportunity, the growth and the tourist market.
“The tourist market in Fiji is expected to grow up to a million people in two to three years, so that is a big growth.
“From my perspective, the Fijian economy is doing very well, it may not appear to be, but tourists will keep on coming.”
Aircrafts to service routes
Mr Sene said their airplanes, which would be used to service the routes are much faster.
The fleet of aircrafts that will be serving the routes will include:
• Beech 1900D
• Dornier 228-212
• Dornier 328-110

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