THE Consumer Council of Fiji has received nine complaints against Pacific Sun airline for failing to accommodate customers intending to travel from Labasa to Savusavu and vice versa.
Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar in a statement said: "This inconvenience of using Savusavu airport undoubtedly comes with a cost which the consumers are made to pay for.
"Providing appropriate transportation to consumers travelling to and from Savusavu should be the responsibility of Pacific Sun and not the consumers since the choice to use the Savusavu Airport is by Pacific Sun."
Mrs Kumar said what added to passenger frustration was the failure of the airline and its travel agents to notify consumers of this arrangement at the point of purchase of the tickets, adding to the confusion as consumers have to find their own way to and from Savusavu.
"It has been brought to the council's attention that Savusavu has limited buses available and consumers are spending about $80 to $90 on taxi fare. Consumers have to leave Labasa as early as 5am to catch the 8am flight from Savusavu.
"Also, consumers are being charged exorbitant airfares catching flights to and from Savusavu."
Mrs Kumar said the airfares charged by Pacific Sun were unreasonable, prompting the council to question whether the re-routing flights to and from Savusavu was a profit-making mechanism.
In response, Pacific Sun spokesman Shane Hussein said the reasons for not flying their aircraft to Labasa were well-documented.
"Flying to Savusavu gives our customers another option to get to Vanua Levu," he said.
"We have other options for customers holding tickets for travel to Labasa, including changing their date of travel without any re-booking fees.
"We reiterate that we are not able to operate flights to Labasa for reasons beyond our control, as we've highlighted consistently. Safety is an uncompromising priority for us and until the runway meets our strict safety standards, we will not be able to operate our ATR or Twin Otter aircraft to Labasa."