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Upgrade Airport: Tourism Bodies Ask A-G To Boost North Economy

The Savusavu tourism and chamber of commerce bodies yesterday called for the temporary solution upgrading of Savusavu Airport to reboot the economy after Tropical Cyclone Winston. Savusavu Tourism Association and
30 Apr 2017 11:02
Upgrade Airport: Tourism Bodies Ask A-G To Boost North Economy
Savusavu Tourism Association and Chamber of Commerce president Justin Hunter (fifth from left), and the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Budget Consultation at Hot Springs Hotel in Savusavu on April 29, 2017. Photo: Josaia Ralago

The Savusavu tourism and chamber of commerce bodies yesterday called for the temporary solution upgrading of Savusavu Airport to reboot the economy after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Savusavu Tourism Association and Chamber of Commerce president Justin Hunter made the submission to the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, during Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s latest rounds of budget consultations.

The consultation was held at the Hot Springs Hotel in Savusavu.

Mr Hunter said the proposed temporary solution would help quickly get back workers in the tourism industry who were laid off after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Mr Hunter’s reasoning for the upgrade would allow up to 20-seater planes into the Hidden Paradise. Currently, flights operating there are restricted.

He suggested the widening of the far end of the Savusavu Airport runway would help provide a temporary solution.

“One thing about Winston and some of its results we saw here in trade and in the market is that it is down by 15 per cent than what it was pre-Winston,” Mr Hunter said.

“And that coincided with a lot of these resorts being shut down for months and 80 per cent (workers) were laid off,” he said.

“I know we are looking over at Seaqaqa as the location for the international airport but there is a short-term fix which would help Northern Air and also the existing Savusavu runway.

“This is to widen the last 90 to 100 metres of the runway.

“You do not have to extend it.”

Mr Hunter said they’ve already done an Environment Impact Assessment which they can provide to Airports Fiji Limited as contribution towards the temporary solution.

Seaqaqa has been proposed as a venue for a new airport for the North providing long term solutions for limitations at both Savusavu and Labasa airports.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said at the end of the day it was Government’s task to look at a viable location.

On Seaqaqa, he said it has a lot of flat lands but an exact location was yet to be confirmed.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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