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Need to Relax Air Service Agreements

Need to Relax Air  Service Agreements
Stakeholders during the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Forum at the Nalagi Hotel in Nadi on Saturday March 3, 2018.
March 04
10:51 2018

Air service agreements between Pacific Island countries have many restrictions. They are being looked at to allow easier connectivity in the region.

Association for South Pacific Airlines secretary-general George Faktaufon said they are still helping the airlines with its development.

“We are trying as close as possible with each other particularly within the islands,” Mr Faktaufon said yesterday while attending the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Forum at Nalagi Hotel in Nadi.

The forum coincided with the celebration of the Chinese New Year and the Festival of Holi.

“We are making some headway but our biggest drawback was the air services agreements.

“These agreements are bilateral based and we are trying to do a multilateral kind of development.”

He said if this was achieved then many of the Pacific Island countries would relax the air service agreements among themselves.

“This will allow airlines within the Pacific to transverse more freely within the Pacific because there are too many restrictions within bilateral agreements.”

Mr Faktaufon said a good example was the private arrangements between Air Vanuatu, Air Solomon and Air Niugini (Vanuatu, Solomon and Papua New Guinea).

“Basically it was done on a bilateral environment but relaxing the requirements under their bilateral agreement.

“These are the kind of issues that we are trying to deal with.

“We can’t improve the inter-region air connectivity without relaxing the bilateral system because the bilateral only allows connection between two countries.”

“There are 14 airlines in the Pacific with PNG relaxing the agreements on both their airlines flying internationally.

“So they are seeing the need to relax some of those constraints, because there is no point in holding onto to it if you’re not going to use it.

“Most governments in the region are very positive because they understand without relaxing some of these requirements they won’t be making use of the limited resources that they have.Airplanes are limited resources.”

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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