AIR PACIFIC LOOKS AT CODESHARE TO SERVICE JAPAN

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In discussions with Air Calin

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 2, 2009) – Fiji’s international airline Air Pacific is in discussions with New Caledonia’s Air Calin on a code share arrangement for flights to Narita in Japan.

Air Pacific has pulled out of Narita after a survey by the airline found a continuous drop in demand in the Japanese market.

Fiji’s roving ambassador Ross Ligairi said the assessment was based on, among other factors, the adverse global economic conditions and its effect on the Japanese long-haul tourism market and corresponding flights.

Ligairi said this development had impacted negatively on where Japanese travellers wanted to go for holidays and vacations when it came to destinations beyond Asia.

"Instead of travelling to traditional tourist destinations in the Pacific like Fiji, Japanese tourists were turning to closer, short-haul holidays in nearby destinations such as China, Korea and other States in south east Asia," he said.

"The situation was not helped by the global economic downturn that had drastically impacted on air transport service operators internationally. This had resulted in continuing heavy losses incurred by international airlines, including Air Pacific.

Ligairi said Air Pacific had to revisit most of its international air services, which was followed by the decision to pull out its air services to Narita if it was to withstand the credit crunch facing the global civil aviation industry.

"The airline’s very survival was on the line," Ligairi said.

"Given these long standing connections, Air Pacific has been engaged in preliminary talks with Air Calin of New Caledonia on a code share arrangement on the Nadi-Noumea-Narita flights."

"To kick start this partnership, the two airlines are in consultations regarding the establishment of an airline capacity / commercial agreement. The option pursued is a code share service with Air Calin through Noumea to Narita, that is one stop, and not a service which goes direct from Nadi."

He said this would require amending the Fiji-Japan ASA to allow for third country code share and an intermediate point in Noumea.

Ligairi said there had been very little or no success at all from aggressive marketing strategies and special pricing programs, put up jointly by the travel industry in both Fiji and Japan over the past three to four years to re-stimulate demand from Japan.

He said alternative air services into Japan, including third country code-sharing arrangements, were now being aggressively explored by airlines in close consultation with Japan’s Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure and Transport.

Ligairi said air services between Fiji and Japan would be reviewed once the global aviation industry turned around.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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