NATION

Bigger Aircraft To Land In Rotuma

  The people of Rotuma can expect a $13 million extended and sealed airport runway by the end of next month. According to Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) Co-head of Operations
07 Apr 2018 10:00
Bigger Aircraft To Land In Rotuma
AFL executive chairman Fiaz Khan (fourth from left) laying the foundation for the $13m runway project with the seven district chiefs of Rotuma.

 

The people of Rotuma can expect a $13 million extended and sealed airport runway by the end of next month.

According to Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) Co-head of Operations Air Traffic Management Amit Singh the project is a game changer for Rotumans.

He said previously Rotumans had to make do with Twin Otter aircraft going into the island with a restriction of only five passengers per flight.

“If anyone has had family going to Rotuma the waiting time to get on board and come out from Rotuma is very restrictive,” Mr Singh said.

“Some people wait for two months. With the Fiji Link ATR 72 going in it is a game changer allowing about 50 to 60 passengers to go in.”

He said overall costs would reduce if there was more demand, “so the ticket price will effectively come down”.

He said greater accessibility to the islands was their general vision since AFL took over island operations.

“That is the general philosophy that AFL is trying to improve outer island airports also apart from the Nausori and Nadi International Airports,” Mr Singh said.

He stressed that it was not a business case for AFL, but a social obligation for the Fijian people.

Mr Singh said their main profit centre was Nadi International Airport.

The Rotuman project was a work-in-progress case for the past 30 years.

Once completed, the runway will be able to accommodate ATR 72 and ATR 42 twin-engine aircraft.

For the project, $2.3 million was given in grants by the Government and the balance of $10.7 million was contributed by AFL as a Government-owned entity.

The project was awarded to China Railway No.5 Engineering Group and provided employment opportunities for people on the island.

The airport is located near Else’e Village in the district of Malhaha with a total of four staff looking after operations on the island.

Mr Singh highlighted that AFL planned to develop most outer island airports within the next seven years.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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