LONDON – Fijian national carrier Fiji Airways has announced today that they have been awarded a contract to manage and operate Fiji Airports, which includes 2 mainstream airports and 13 outer island airports bringing total to 15.
Speaking on this occasion, Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen said that “having management oversight at Fiji Airports will enhance a number of existing synergies between the two companies.”
Asserting on this move, Mr. Viljoen further added that “We have had a strong working relationship with Fiji Airports for many years and this management agreement will elevate services to the next level.”
“COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a new approach to managing Fiji’s airport infrastructure and ensuring its fighting fit for what lies ahead.”
Fiji, the South Pacific island nation, has its economy dependent on tourism from the surrounding region of Oceania and the west coast United States. With its infrastructure lacking in attracting more than desired traffic that could prosper the island tourism economy, the underdeveloped and complex airport system in the country has challenges to face.
With two international airports, Nadi and Nausori, which is based on islands, remaining 13 airports provide outer island and regional traffic to the parts of Fiji, where tourism is scattered.
The regional air transportation provides access to over 332 islands and 500 islets. But overall, 2 major airports of the country account for 87% of the traffic.
Fiji Airports was established in 1999 and is fully owned by the government. Fiji Airport owns Nadi International Airport, which is a hub for Fiji Airways and main gateway to the Fiji Islands. Furthermore, Fiji Airports manages Nausori International Airport along with 13 other outer islands airports.
Fiji Airports has a responsibility of providing air traffic management services to the Nadi Flight Information Region (FIR), comprising of air space management for Fiji, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kiribati ad Vanuatu which covers vast area of more than 6 million square km.
Apart from the airspace management, Fiji Airport also has a responsibility of providing aerodrome operations with airports and sea ports across the country, along with air navigation services and management of commercial activities through its airports’ non aeronautical revenue stream.
Considering the major contributor of Fiji’s economy is tourism, previous two years of pandemic have pushed the island nation in dire need to attract more tourism and thus elevate its infrastructure to grow its capacity.
As the borders across the globe are opening with all restrictions being dropped, Fiji has once again found itself in epicentre of upgrading its infrastructure.
Commenting on this need, Mr. Viljoen added that, “The pandemic has also had a significant impact on the aviation sector, and historic operating models and structures are in many cases, no longer relevant or optimal.”
“Through this agreement, we will provide strategic leadership, and manage the airport ecosystem under the policies and guidance of Fiji Airports Board of Directors and its shareholders.”
Fiji Airways, the new management of the Fiji Airports has asserted that, the core task of the airports comprises of aircraft operations, terminal management, provision of efficient ground handling, cargo services, air traffic management and a strict compliance with regulatory, safety and security legislation.
However, it is of utmost importance to deliver pleasant and welcoming quality customer experience, with engaging retail and F&B services along with safe and secure environment for workers and travellers including baggage processing and check-in services is essential to attract tourism flows.
Adding further to his views, Mr. Viljoen said “This is exactly what we will deliver on as the new management company for Fiji Airports. Using our tried and tested service development and quality culture innovations, through various education and training programmes we are confident of improving operations at Fiji Airports on all levels.”
Concluding his statement, Mr. Viljoen spoke on accessibility to various markets with routes, saying, “In the past five years, Fiji Airways has launched new services to Singapore, Tokyo, San Francisco and come November, we will be flying twice weekly to Vancouver.”
“We also have a modern aircraft fleet to provide best possible customer experience and connections. Our infrastructure on the ground must be able and ready to receive and process more flights, baggage, cargo and most importantly, more travellers in and out of Fiji.”