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Goal is to integrate aviation services in Pacific region

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 8, 2008) – Fiji’ interim government will sign the Forums Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) aimed at establishing a framework for gradual integration of aviation services for member Pacific nations.

In a decision endorsed by Cabinet yesterday interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama this framework is in full support of sustainable development for the Forum Island Countries (FICs).

"This was agreed to by FICs representatives at Vavau, Tonga on 30th October 2002 and to date more than ten FICs have signed," he said. "The Forum member countries embraced this regional agreement with the belief that it will provide a multi-lateral basis for the liberalization of air services between them."

Bainimarama said PIASA intends to provide, through the creation of the Forum Island Country Single Aviation Market, a gradual, staged process, which will assist in the strengthening and growth of FIC airlines.

"This agreement places the control of change in the hands of FICS rather than having change forced upon its airlines at a pace determined by external factors."

PIASA will allow Fijis designated airlines to operate to any of the regional routes without restrictions on capacity, frequencies etc.

Bainimarama said Air Pacific, the largest airline in the region, would be able to make use of the opportunities and maximize its benefits especially when capacities and frequencies of flights will not be restricted.

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