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Vanua Levu’s International Airport? A 5-year Plan, Says PM

The Savusavu Tourism Association in a meeting with the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was informed that the set up of the international airport in Macuata Province would be a five-year
18 Jan 2016 13:45
Vanua Levu’s International Airport? A 5-year Plan, Says PM
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama pointing out while having a conversation with Savusavu Tourism Association Vice President Josaia Rayawa at Koro Sun Resort and Rain Forest Spa in Savusavu on Friday night. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

The Savusavu Tourism Association in a meeting with the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was informed that the set up of the international airport in Macuata Province would be a five-year plan.

This was after the Savusavu Tourism Association (STA) President and Savusavu Chamber of Commerce President Justin Hunter requested Mr Bainimarama to advise the time frame when the international airport project will be done.

The proposed airport midway between Savusavu and Labasa would answer constraints developing both the existing Savusavu and Labsa airports. It would also enable direct international flights to meet the potential growth of tourism in the Savusavu region.

The meeting was held at Koro Sun Resort and Rain Forest Spa in Savusavu on Friday night.

“I have been hearing from so many people and media that the international airport will be built in between Savusavu and Labasa which is a good project and we support the idea,” Mr Hunter said to Mr Bainimarama.

“However, we want to know when this project will begin and complete because our business is affected with less flights coming in to Savusavu airport.”

Mr Bainimarama replied: “Certainly we need more planes both big and small and we need a big airport.

“I am aware about your numerous requests but we can’t extend the Savusavu Airport runaway because it would cost us millions of dollars.

“That is why a site had been identified in Seaqaqa for an international airport and this project would take us next five years.

“We have allocated some funds for this project and we will surely try to help you.”

Savusavu Tourism Association Vice President, Josaia Rayawa asked Mr Bainimarama while the project would be carried out could something be done to help the resort community in Savusavu.

Mr Bainimarama replied: “We will look into this, we have been having talks with Fiji Link and Fiji Airways, and we will see how we can help you.”

Mr Hunter said they had a meeting with Fiji Link and Fiji Airways last year sometime in September.

“During this meeting Savusavu Tourism Association brought up a concept called Preferred Provider Programme where we will streamline and funnel all our business towards Fiji Airways and Fiji Link with a hope and contexts that will be another incentive to Fiji Link to give another plane to serve Savusavu, Taveuni and Kadavu,” Mr Hunter said.

“Fiji Link understands what our concept is but still they haven’t returned with a response.

“We need to 30 to 36 seats morning and afternoon that will give us 60 percent occupants,

“Most of the flights coming from Hong Kong and LA have tourists who plan to spend days in Savusavu.

“These high yield travellers spend significantly and we want to accommodate them.

“We are looking into options and several properties in Savusavu are willing to finance an airline company to provide us service and Island Hoppers have shown interest,” Mr Hunter said.

“We want to support our local people, local industry and we want to stay in Savusavu with our families and this flight problem needs to be looked at immediately.”

 

Edited by: aatika patel
Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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