SUNBIZ

Northern Air Begins Flights To Taveuni

Travellers to and from Taveuni now have an additional option in terms of flights. Northern Air has started flying to the garden island of Taveuni twice a week direct from
04 Jun 2015 09:56
Northern Air Begins Flights To Taveuni
Taveuni Tourism Association representatives and Taveuni residents welcomed Northern Air’s aircraft at Matei Airport on its maiden flight to Taveuni the past Saturday.

Travellers to and from Taveuni now have an additional option in terms of flights.

Northern Air has started flying to the garden island of Taveuni twice a week direct from Suva on Mondays and Saturdays.

It is using its Embraer Bandeirante and Britten Norman Islander aircraft to operate the flights.

The company has hinted the possible introduction of Trislanders into its fleet sometimes late this year as well. This adds to capacity and demand for the route which previously used to be serviced only by Fiji Link.

The flights also bodes well for the tourism stakeholders in Taveuni.

Concerns have been previously raised by the tourism operators in Taveuni over the air fares charged by Fiji Link which was the only domestic operator to Taveuni.

Northern Air is charging $190.75 air fare one way to and from Taveuni for the approximately 38-minutes flight.

Plans are to increase this to thrice weekly adding a flight on Wednesdays.

Northern Air owner, Captain Rainjesh San, further says they want to slowly build to one flight a day to Taveuni later this year.

The company is also looking to introduce a Nadi-Taveuni flight.

Taveuni Tourism Association President, Viola Koch, said the larger place and flights at a reasonable rate will greatly improve Taveuni’s tourism and economy.

She said it will ensure that Taveuni’s more than 700 Hotel beds will be filled.

“We are looking forward to working with Northern Air,” she said.

Taveuni Tourism Association Transportation Committee Chair, Dorothy Cammick, congratulated Northern Air on their persistence and patience in achieving this milestone.

She said: “This will add choices in air travel to Taveuni and boost the tourism industry.”

Why Taveuni?

Captain San said the company’s decision to expand services to Taveuni is based on the fact that this was where dive-tourism first started in Fiji.

“The location, the natural beauty and vegetation, unchanged Fijian natural hospitality offers unlike any destination and away from the hustle and bustle of urbanisation and traffic,” he said.

Fiji Link is understood to currently have three direct weekly flights to Taveuni from Suva and a daily direct flight from Nadi.  There is also a Suva-Nadi-Taveuni flight every Friday.

Fiji Link uses its Twin Otter aircraft to fly to Taveuni and because of the high demand for the route, flights have to be booked in advance to get a seat.

An achievement

Captain San said it has been a milestone in achieving the long pending journey they always had.

“We will do all we can to make our  Taveuni’s garden island resorts and the neighbouring resorts get back on track again with better numbers,” he said.

He has request the Taveuni Tourist Association to support Northern Air so they do not have to go back to services by one operator only with “high” air fares.

“We need to work together and create a relationship together like what Late Don Collingwood left behind,” he said.

“I am here 24/7 to take your calls and will do my best to uphold and improve the Northern tourism, economy and developments.

“This will bring multiplier effect on the industry and your strengths, skills, attitude and wealth will be better circulated and appreciated.”




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