PM: New Terminal Is One Fiji Deserves

The new Nadi International Airport terminal is officially open, completing the first major overhaul of a structure built more than half a century ago. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama declared the
05 Jun 2018 11:13
PM: New Terminal Is One Fiji Deserves
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama receiving a bowl of kava during ceremonies before he officially opened the newly-renovated Nadi International Airport Terminal on June 4, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO

The new Nadi International Airport terminal is officially open, completing the first major overhaul of a structure built more than half a century ago.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama declared the renovated facility open yesterday, calling the new structure “a symbol of a modern, progressive nation” and one “on the move.”

“It is a complex built to world standards. It is certainly the biggest and most modern airport terminal in the Pacific islands and one worthy of Fiji’s status as hub of the Pacific,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“We’ve put in new car park facilities, a two-lane departures passenger drop-off area and higher, grander ceilings.

“We’ve expanded the immigration and customs processing areas with additional counters to service more travellers, we’ve put in brand new airline lounges, a bigger and better departures lounge with an amazing view overlooking Nadi Bay and the Sleeping Giants.

“New duty-free outlets offer world renowned brands, along with other specialty retail outlets. We also have a new children’s play area in the departures lounge, and a non-denominational prayer room for the use of our guests from around the world.”

The Prime Minister said the country’s lucrative tourism sector would reap the benefits of the new facility.

“Nadi remains an important hub for flights throughout the region and beyond, connecting us directly with points in Asia and North America as well as our larger neighbours to the south,” he said.

“And with this complex, we now have the airport terminal Fiji needs and deserves, ready to support the growth of tourism in Fiji to a 2.2-billion-dollar industry, which is our goal by 2021.”

He said the “excitement” and “pride” was akin to what the nation felt when the country’s national airline, Fiji Airways, was rebranded in 2012.

Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the Tui Nadi and the Tui Sabeto were present at the opening, along with members of the diplomatic corps and a wide range of guests.

The renovation was the latest in a series of historic events for Fiji’s aviation industry, coming six days after Airports Fiji Limited was rebranded to Fiji Airports Limited.

At the opening, Mr Bainimarama evoked fond memories with a short history lesson of this own.

“For me personally, this is a night that brings back a great many memories because I grew up not far from here in Natabua,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“It was the dawn of the jet age as the great propeller driven Constellations and DC sixes were gradually replaced by 707s and DC8s. Those early jets were much louder than today’s planes and we would often be woken in the early hours of the morning as they screamed overhead. And depending on the wind direction, you could hear the roar of their take-offs from as far away as Lautoka.

“As a boy, Nadi Airport was always a wondrous place – Fiji’s window on the world at a time when very few people could afford to travel.

“In those days before television, many local families would go there for entertainment, to watch the takeoffs and landings. And there were plenty of them, because every Trans-Pacific flight in those days had to stop in Nadi to refuel.”

The airport is also the first in the Pacific to receive Airport Carbon Accreditation, Mr Bainimarama said, saying it was a testament to Fiji’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions.

In March, the airport was named the world’s most improved airports by United Kingdom based airline and airport review and ranking site, Skytrax.

“Last year, passenger arrivals at this airport surpassed two million, and we are on track to record an even larger number this year. And as that number grows, more money is spent in Fiji; that means jobs and that brings economic opportunity – especially if you’re working in tourism,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“And all of that growth and development is part of our vision, across every other aspect of our national effort to build a modern, dynamic 21stcentury economy, which is already on track to grow for the ninth year running.”

The Government has also invested in infrastructure upgrades outside the aiport.

“Once our visitors pass through this new gateway to our nation and head towards our main tourism destination, Denarau, they will drive on our brand new four-lane highway in Nadi, across the upgraded Denarau Bypass road and Bridge direct to our world-class resorts,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“It is now a seamless transition from an arrivals hall to a hotel room, in a travelling time far shorter than many other destinations.

“This is a facility worthy of our people and their bright future, and it is proof that we are a government that delivers for the Fijian people, this evening, in the form of this magnificent gateway to a new Fiji.”

Edited by Sheldon Chanel




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