Air cleared on route

ATTORNEY-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has clarified that Fiji Link does not intend to monopolise the Labasa air routes.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in Parliament on Monday that Northern Airways also serviced Labasa.

“We know that Airports Fiji Ltd is now putting night landing lights into Labasa, which means that the frequency of flights can increase to Vanua Levu, which means the economy can be further enhanced,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“In order to have flights landing at night, there is a particular hill that is on the way, we need to put those lights there too and a certain level of that hill needs to be taken out.

“At the end of the day, everyone also knows that the length of the runway in Wailevu, Labasa is not long enough for an ATR 72 to take a full load, everyone knows that.

“This is why we have been talking about an alternative site.”

He said it was difficult to extend the airport because of a river that surrounded the airstrip.

“So as with Nausori, a 737 until today cannot take off at full load because the length is not long enough,” he said.

“This is why at certain times when the load is quite high you actually cannot take the full load and, therefore, sometimes you cannot take all the passengers.

“So once you actually have a runway that is the right size, you have night landing lights, you will be able to bring down the prices even further because an airline cannot make maximum returns if only certain number of seats can be sold, that is the point.

“That is what you call economics, that is what you call financial management of an aircraft and they (Opposition) need to understand that and we have stated this in Parliament on a number of occasions.”

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