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Fiji Time: 6:46 PM on Tuesday 2 September

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Uproar over delay

Salaseini Vosamana
Saturday, October 13, 2012

LABASA business houses and hoteliers have lashed out at Pacific Sun for delaying services to Waiqele Airport, saying it has badly affected business.

They have called on the Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to step in and investigate why Pacific Sun has not started servicing the Labasa route while Northern Air has already made use of the new tarmac.

Pacific Sun has not resumed services to Labasa after the reopening of the Waiqele airport tarmac last month after closing the airport for maintenance work.

The Fiji Times called Mr Sayed-Khaiyum but he was not able to make a comment as he was ill. Questions sent to the permanent secretary Elizabeth Powell remained unanswered as she is out of the country.

The business people are frustrated with the delay and are pleading with the government to investigate the work done by the contractor if Pacific Sun still finds the tarmac unsafe.

Grand Eastern Hotel and Friendly North Inn owner Charan Jeath Singh said most of his customers had to cancel their accommodation and rental hire bookings because they could not make it to the northern town.

"Customers prefer to stay in Savusavu because they don't want to fork out extra money for transportation costs to Labasa. The occupancy rate is very low and we can't afford this because we have to pay our staff as well."

Pacific Sun public relations and communications manager Shane Hussein said: "Our reasons for not being able to fly into Labasa are well-documented. As we have previously explained, it is for the safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft."

AFL general manager Lawrence Liew allowed The Fiji Times on Thursday to visit the tarmac where workers described the runway as "perfect".


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