A-G: Airport An Inspiration for All Fijians

The Nadi International Airport should be an inspiration to all Fijians as to what can be achieved as a country. With that, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while speaking at the
05 Jun 2018 12:09
A-G: Airport An Inspiration for All Fijians
From left: Attorney General and Minister for Public Entreprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji Airports Limited directors Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and Geoffrey Shaw with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Fiji Airports executive chairman Faiz Khan unveiling the plaque at Nadi International Airport on June 4, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Nadi International Airport should be an inspiration to all Fijians as to what can be achieved as a country.

With that, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while speaking at the opening of the upgraded facility yesterday, said it was now time to plan for an additional terminal for the airport.

“We need to plan what to do in five years’ time,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said this included the building of an extended runway for Nausori Airport, the lengthening of the runway on Rotuma in July and the installation of lights at Labasa Airport for night landing.

“We have a leader who has the vision and has laid down the path for us and it is our obligation and duty to deliver because we have been given that level of flexibility.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the construction of the building was no easy task while processing passengers through the airport.

He said it was refreshing to have a team of people who ran things professionally.

“Indeed without professionalism, we would not have achieved what we have achieved,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Fiji, as a country, has the potential and the ability to achieve international standards.

“We have a leadership that is visionary, a leadership that is decisive, a leadership that is built on transparency.

‘A leadership that is running Government like a business but at the same time having that compassion that is required.

“That leadership that is committed to a level of professionalism that brings about that ability to think outside the box.”

He said prime land given away in 2002 by the then Government has seen this asset written off the books of Fiji Airports Limited.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that simultaneously when the lease was given away by the former Airports Fiji Limited, it was to private enterprises who now hold the leases.

“What that had meant that Fiji Airport’s ability to expand was limited,” he said.

Fiji Airports executive chairman Faiz Khan said the challenges were to upgrade 70 years old buildings that were built “haphazardly” without any master planning, to upgrade whilst being fully operational and to re-create our business in order to undertake such a large project.

“In July 2014, we had committed $102 million to the project as the base cost without having any provision for the unknowns,” Mr Khan said.

“We could have set aside a budget of 30-50 per cent for the unknowns but we chose not to. We didn’t want project stakeholders to work towards a cost target for the unknowns and exhaust the budget early on in this complicated project.

“Despite all the challenges, the infrastructure you can see, plus complete upgrades to the air-conditioning system, chillers, cooling towers, air con ducts, electrical and data services, back-up generators, fire alarm system, CCTV security systems, a dozen each of plant and core rooms, landscaping and beautification, x-ray machines, baggage conveyors, FF&Es, escalators, lifts, etc was completed for $129 million.

“Whilst our revenue was going up, our costs in absolute dollar terms decreased over some years. This is phenomenal because business costs tend to increase proportionately to revenue.

“In 2012 our total Profit & Loss cost as a percentage of revenue was 78 per cent while in 2017 it was 43 per cent.

“Recently, we engaged Airports Council International – a body that specialises in benchmarking airpot businesses globally.

“They found that Fiji Airports cost was US$8 (FJ$16.62) per passenger compared to US$14 (FJ$29.08) per passenger for other Pacific Island airports and the global average.”




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