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FIJI NEWS

Taveuni businessman urges more air service

August 25
09:21 2012

By JOELENE TUIMOALA and RACHNA LAL

Taveuni businesses are heavily dependent on air services to the islands in the North.
Taveuni businessman, Champak Lal, is therefore calling major domestic airline, Pacific Sun, to increase services to Taveuni in order to encourage tourism.
This, he believes, could be a driving force in Taveuni’s economy.
“Airfares to Taveuni, for one thing, are very expensive. If their cost of service had been lower, I am sure more tourists would come to Taveuni,” he said.
Mr Lal is the owner of Meridian Dateline Shop located at Wairiki, Taveuni.
He said businesses in Taveuni were mostly dependent on farmers who also live on a day-to-day-basis.
“Business in Taveuni generally does not have a sudden increase or a sudden decrease; business is simply on a steady level,” he said.
“The working class group, which make up a minority of population, only make one-time shopping, probably during the pay weeks only.”
Mr Lal said income from fishing was not much as there were stringent laws in place also to limit fishing freedoms.
“So now during the school holidays, business slows down a bit. It will pick up again when school starts,” he said.
“Such is the trend here for those who run businesses here in Taveuni especially for grocery shops like ours.”
Meanwhile, Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited, this week confirmed to Sun Business that it has received licence to service our domestic airline market.
One of their routes include Taveuni amongst other outer islands.
Company president, Barney Sene, has assured their main focus was to address the reliability of services to the Northern Islands, mainly Taveuni, Savusavu and Labasa.
This move would increase competition in the domestic market.
Pacific Sun tells
of challenges
Pacific Sun has meanwhile announced their new cheaper air fares to the North.
Pacific Sun general manager, Shaenaz Voss, said about 20 per cent of their cost of flying was attributable to fuel.
“Additionally, the cost of maintenance, parts, engines, has continued to rise. We are aware the price of petrol has skyrocketed. In the past 10 years, crude oil has risen by almost 260 per cent.”
Ms Voss stressed that they had only one fare increase in the last five year while fuel prices increased drastically.
“Pacific Sun has attempted to find ways to not simply pass these increases to consumers but find ways to increase efficiencies and pass along those savings,” she said.

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