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Fiji Airways Signs Agreement With ADB For COVID-19 Liquidity Support

The financing comprises a $40 million loan from Asia Development Bank (ADB) and a further $25 million loan from the Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), which will be administered by ADB.
13 Mar 2021 11:22
Fiji Airways Signs Agreement With ADB For COVID-19 Liquidity Support
Official party outside a Fiji Airways A350 aircraft, Fiji Airways board chairman Rajesh Punja (second from left), Regional Director of ADB’s Fiji office, Masayuki Tachiiri (third from the left), Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr. Kawakami Fumihiro (fourth from left), Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya (fourth from right), Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive officer Andre Viljoen (third from right), with Asia Development Bank officials. Photo: Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline, yesterday signed a US$65 million (FJ$131.7 million) Liquidity Support Facility with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Support Facility is to help the airline cover operating costs and meet financial obligations while the travel demand remains non-existent due to the pandemic-induced border closures.

The Asian Development Bank’s $65 million COVID-19 Liquidity Support Facility for Fiji’s Air Pacific Limited, which operates as Fiji Airways and (through its wholly-owned subsidiary) Fiji Link, comprises a $40 million loan from ADB and a further $25 million loan from the Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP)-is funded by Japan international cooperation agency (JICA) and will be administered by ADB.

Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive officer, Andre Viljoen, said: “We are delighted to receive ADB’s financial support at this critical time.

“The US$65 million (FJ$131.7 million) Liquidity Support Facility from ADB is a great endorsement for Fiji Airways and its strategy of bridging the world to Fiji and the South Pacific with a sustainably profitable, high-quality air service.

“ADB’s facility, along with the dedicated support of Fiji Airways’ staff, management, Board, and other stakeholders, will allow us to weather the turbulence of COVID-19 and sustain our critical role in connecting the world to the Fijian and regional economies.”

Mr Viljoen added that the airline was focussed on its ‘future fit’ measures to survive and thrive once borders re-opened.

“Fiji Airways will lead the country’s economic recovery through tourism and trade when travel resumes safely, and this historic support facility from the ADB will help us do just that.

“We thank the Fijian Government, especially the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Minister for Economy and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, for their support and the requisite Government guarantee that made this support facility possible.”

Jackie B Surtani, ADB Private Sector Operations Department Infrastructure Finance Division Director for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, said: “COVID-19 has crippled the international aviation industry.

“This has severely affected Fiji and other Pacific countries which rely on air links for critical freight, health, education, communication services, and especially for tourism—which accounts for around one-third of Fiji’s gross domestic product.

“This investment underscores the breadth of ADB’s commitment to ensure continued essential infrastructure services in Fiji and throughout the Pacific.”

Founded in 1951, the Fiji Airways Group comprises of Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline and its subsidiaries: Fiji Link, its domestic and regional carrier, Pacific Call Comm Ltd, and a 38.75 per cent stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi. Fiji Airways is the largest inbound operator to Fiji and has the most comprehensive South Pacific network, connecting the region to and from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Asia.

LEAP was established in 2016 with a $1.5 billion capital commitment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

It is focused on delivering high quality and sustainable private sector infrastructure projects to ADB’s developing member countries.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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