Opinion

Let’s Be Patient As Specialists Work On Fixing Nausori Airport Runway

There is a lot of frustration amidst Fiji Airways passengers who had booked to fly on their Boeing 737 aircraft from Nausori International Airport. This is given the national carrier
10 Oct 2016 11:00
Let’s Be Patient As Specialists Work On Fixing Nausori Airport Runway

There is a lot of frustration amidst Fiji Airways passengers who had booked to fly on their Boeing 737 aircraft from Nausori International Airport.

This is given the national carrier rightly remains firm on its decision that the airport runway remains unsuitable for its B737 aircraft operations.

And while this frustration is understandable, there is little Fiji Airways, or for that matter, Airports Fiji, can do but to have the matter fixed.

Fiji Airways cannot risk its aircraft landing on or taking off  from the runway.

There are real risks that the aircraft could sustain damage, or worse, endanger the lives of passengers.

At the same time, AFL had engaged a specialist contractor to carry out sealing works with the objective of extending the life of the Nausori runway by two years.

But this unforeseen situation arose out of apparently unsatisfactory application of the sealant. This work is being done by contractors.

Recent expert inspections by consultants engaged by Fiji Airways recommend further remedial works to the runway surface.

These recommendations have been passed on to Airports Fiji Limited.

Until the recommended remedial works are carried out and the runway meets Fiji Airways’ safety requirements, the airline will continue to transfer ticketed Boeig 737 customers to/from Suva via Nadi to Sydney and Auckland.

Customers will either take a domestic connection to/from Suva on Fiji Link, if there are seats available, or take a road transfer.

Fiji Airways will advise customers of logistical requirements in this regard if customers have correct, direct contact details in their bookings.

For this reason, all customers are requested to update their booking details with cell phone numbers and email addresses.

AFL, meanwhile, has passed the independent report from Fiji Airways’ consultant to its consultant Beca Erasito and contractor Supersealing out of Australia for their review and remedial action.

AFL is doing all it can to push its Australian specialist contractor through its consultant, to remedy the issues to meet the safety standards required for safe operations of the B737s.

While Airports Fiji will comment further on the issue soon, Fiji Airways says it will resume its B737 flights into Suva as soon as the runway surface meets its safety requirements.

The sealing work was being done by AFL with a good intention which was to give a longer life to the current Nausori runway to service airlines and passengers.

This was whilst AFL worked on the more permanent runway expansion over the next three years.

But the apparently mishap involving the contractor was an unforeseen event beyond the control of AFL and Fiji Airways.

We are lucky to have our national airline now flying directly to Sydney and Auckland from two airport locations in the first place.

A few years back, this was not even possible.

But both Fiji Airways and Airports Fiji Limited will not compromise safety.

So just like AFL and Fiji Airways, we need to stand by in solidarity and let the matter be resolved amicably and properly.

 

Rachna Lal
Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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