Mixed reactions for airport works

THERE have been mixed reactions by the business sector in the North to the budget announcement on the near completion of the implementation of night lights at Waiqele Airport in Labasa.

While announcing the National Budget yesterday, Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said works at the Labasa Airport to cater for night landing were nearing completion.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this would grant the ability for same day return air trips to and from Labasa.

“We are nearing the completion of works for the Labasa airport (Waiqele Airport) to cater for night flights, granting the ability for same day return air trips to and from Labasa,” he said.

Labasa Chamber of Commerce president Satish Kumar said the project would boost the business sector in the North.

Mr Kumar said businesspeople could not travel to and from Labasa to Viti Levu and vice versa in one day and carry out business dealings efficiently.

He added that the project would not only boost business in Labasa Town, but also in the whole of the Northern Division.

“It will boost tourism and other sectors too, bringing in a lot of opportunities for the sectors in Labasa and the North,” he said.

Savusavu Tourism Association and Savusavu Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Karl Smith said while the development may benefit the business sector in Labasa, it would not have the same effect on the tourism industry in Savusavu.

Mr Smith said tourists on longer trips opted for direct trips from Nadi to Savusavu instead of travelling via the Waiqele Airport.

He said since tourism was one of the mainstays for the town, it was apt for the town’s airport to be upgraded, adding it would be good to see such developments in the near future.

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