FIJI PUTS OFF REPAIRS TO TAVENUI AIRSTRIP

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Nadi, Nausori airports first priorities

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 31, 2009) - THERE are no plans by Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) to upgrade the airport on Taveuni, Fiji because of vast work and funding involved, says AFL.

[PIR editor’s note: Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu with a total land area of 435 square kilometers. It has a population of approximately 12,000 inhabitants and is a popular tourist destination in Fiji.]

AFL spokesman Pio Rokosuka said although they have not received any request from the Taveuni Hotel Association to upgrade the Matei airport to cater for ATR42 flights, the work was quite impossible at this stage.

"The feasibility study of extending the runway to cater for Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) operations needs to be carried out and the project will need to be Government funded," Mr. Rokosuka said. "This will be an expensive exercise requiring a longer and wider sealed runway which will roughly cost between FJ$8 million [US$4.1 million] and FJ$2 million [US$1 million]."

Mr. Rokosuka said AFL needed to concentrate on developing Nadi and Nausori airports which have been neglected for a long time.

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