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Fiji Airways Is Flying To Singapore

Fiji Airways Is Flying To Singapore
he Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (seated third from left), during the bonus payment announcement for Fiji Ports Terminal Limited staff yesterday. Photo: Rama
September 18
12:02 2015

Fiji Airways will fly direct to Singapore, South East Asia’s booming financial hub, from next year.

The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, confirmed this yesterday.

He said they hoped to begin before the Singapore Rugby Sevens on April 16 to 17, which has replaced the Tokyo Sevens.

The opportunity for new destinations will open up as Fiji Airways takes delivery of its new A330-300 aircraft in December. The two destinations which the Fiji Airways board has been discussing are Beijing in China and Singapore.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were some matters that needed to be sorted out as far as Beijing was concerned with the Air Service Agreements.

“If that does not get resolved in time, then obviously Fiji Airways needs to look at other destinations,” he said.

“However, Singapore is confirmed and I have discussed with the chairman of Fiji Airways and he has given his confirmation.

“As shareholders we believe that Singapore is very important. It is another major hub and there is very good connectivity into the Middle East, Africa and of course into markets like India.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they hoped for code sharings with other international airlines which would be critical for the access to the Singapore route.

 

Manufacturers glad

The interim president of the Fiji Manufacturers Association, Daksesh Patel, said  it was another feather in the cap for Fiji Airways.

Mr Patel congratulated the management and board of Fiji Airways for taking this bold step.

“To make this route right in the hub of Asia is probably the most progressive, dynamic and courageous and commercially-prudent decision that I think we have witnessed in the history of Fiji Airways management,” he said.

He said the flights would not only open the whole of Asia in terms of tourism, but also in terms of trade.

“From manufacturers’ point of view, it brings great amount of connectivity to Asia,” he said.

“A lot of people actually go to Asia and having this direct flight to Singapore means a lot.

“This is because it allows us direct access into Asia for both opportunities and also sourcing many types of raw materials and technology as well.

“Asia is more technical in terms of doing collaboration and technical arrangements. It is closer to Fiji. It is much more compatible to Fijian economy. So it is all in all fantastic news.”

But beyond this, Mr Patel, said it also would open the segment for perishable item exports.

“That can be anything from seafood to flowers to other kind of exotic seafood that can be farmed and sent fresh to Asia,” he said.

“Once it gets to Singapore, it is very easy to distribute to very high demand markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and other growing niche markets.

“It does open a lot of opportunities for exporters which is currently being exploited by niche manufactures out of Australia and New Zealand.

“So it does give that ability to Fiji farmers and manufacturers to have the same level of access especially freighting fresh produce and getting it into the market.”

Therefore, in addition to tourism, air cargo is expected to be a big business on this new route which will benefit manufacturers and farmers as well.

 

Tourism perspective

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya, said this was great news for our tourism industry.

“We have been talking about connectivity for quite a while with respect to our growth markets and a major one being India,” he said.

“The major issue coming out of that area was connectivity and this will give us the right connectivity to entice more tourists to come to Fiji.

“Along with that, Singapore being a hub is a feeder station for tourists from like Europe to travel to Fiji.

“It’s not just the tourism aspect but also the trade aspect.

“There will be a lot more cargo and trade. Fiji as a hub will be connecting with another hub. So it is great news for tourism industry but also industry and trade.”

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president, Dixon Seeto, said the expansion by Fiji Airways to new destinations was a good thing in widening its network.

“It expands the catchment area for traffic to and from Fiji. While Singapore may not be a major catchment area, it does provide for connections to Europe and UK and also the Asian region like India and China etc,” he said.

“But I am sure that the other prime Asian destinations are being worked on which will compliment this Singapore destination. A very comprehensive network from Asia to Fiji.

“I think in terms of tourism, it will give another access point for the visitors mainly direct services, Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul. The more access points we have, the better it is for Fijian tourism.”

 

Financial hub

Meanwhile, Mr Patel further highlighted Fiji could also leverage off Singapore’s status as the financial hub of Asia.

“Singapore is now growing to become one of the major global financial hubs.

“It is already competing strongly with London to become the next best financial hub after New York.

“I think Singapore is seen as a more neutral country and is seen coming as a strong financial hub in the Asian region and will be seen as one of the three top financial cities that will match with New York and London.”

Mr Patel said for Fijian businesses to have that link flying in and out of Singapore will be a big advantage.

“It will save a lot of time in terms of diverting flights out of Australia as many people have problems getting visa – even transit visa even to fly into Singapore,” he said.

 

Subsidy

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were some issues surrounding whether they would initially get the right amount of traffic coming in.

Therefore, he said Government had agreed to provide for at least the first year or so a particular level of subsidy for them to have the level of confidence to go to Singapore.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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