Fiji Air­ways and Air­port Fiji ad­dress con­sumer con­cerns over flight dis­rup­tions from Nau­sori

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Air­ports Fiji Lim­ited and Fiji Air­ways yes­ter­day re­sponded to con­cerns raised by some con­sumers over the flight dis­rup­tions/ can­cel­la­tions at the Nau­sori In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Flights had to be redi­rected from Nau­sori Air­port since Sun­day be­cause af­ter the seal­ing works car­ried out by AFL con­trac­tors , the air­port was un­suit­able for Fiji Air­ways Boe­ing 737 air­craft op­er­a­tions. Con­sumer Coun­cil of Fiji chief ex­ec­u­tive, Premila Ku­mar, said there should have been ‘bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion’ be­tween Fiji Air­ways and Air­ports Fiji Lim­ited. She said they had re­ceived com­plaints from con­sumers in the way pas­sen­gers on in­ter­na­tional flights from Nau­sori were man­aged by the air­line and AFL staff mem­bers. AFL in re­spond­ing to the state­ment said: “We need to un­der­stand that flight can­cel­la­tion due to works at Nau­sori In­ter­na­tional Air­port was an un­fore­seen. “AFL brought in a spe­cial­ist Aus­tralian con­trac­tor who had worked for a num­ber of nights to seal cracks at Nau­sori. “Flights would then re­sume in the day. How­ever, on Sun­day, the sealant they ap­plied could not cure in the day re­sult­ing in flight can­cel­la­tions due to pre­cau­tion­ary rea­sons as we can­not com­pro­mise on safety. “Since then the con­trac­tor Su­per­seal­ing car­ried out re­me­dial works and as of Tues­day gave the all clear for run­way us­age. “Un­der­stand­ably the air­lines are car­ry­ing out their own in­de­pen­dent assess­ment be­fore re­sum­ing B737 flight op­er­a­tions, whilst ATR op­er­a­tions re­sumed last Mon­day.” AFL said the rea­son for the crack seal­ing works was to give a longer life to the cur­rent Nau­sori run­way to service air­lines and pas­sen­gers. This is whilst AFL works on the more per­ma­nent run­way ex­pan­sion over the next three years. “These crack seal­ing works will en­sure bet­ter ser­vice­abil­ity of Nau­sori over the next two years. The mishap by the con­trac­tor is an un­fore­seen and we are most apolo­getic to our pas­sen­gers,” AFL said.

Fiji Air­ways re­sponse

Mean­while, Fiji Air­ways says they sym­pa­thise with their cus­tomers af­fected by the run­way clo­sure. “The un­suit­abil­ity of the run­way sur­face is sim­ply be­yond the air­line’s con­trol, and we’d re­fer queries re­gard­ing this to Air­ports Fiji Lim­ited,” it said.

“The first can­cel­la­tion last Sun­day was done at the last minute in the in­ter­est of safety. Non-avail­abil­ity of buses and restau­rants to sup­ply food on Sun­day fur­ther con­trib­ute to de­lays faced by cus­tomers. “Fiji Air­ways and Fiji Link try to ac­com­mo­date as many vary­ing needs and re­quests as pos­si­ble. “We do un­der­stand, how­ever, the in­con­ve­nience fac­ing cus­tomers in un­avoid­able sit­u­a­tions like these. “Our fo­cus is on get­ting our cus­tomers to their des­ti­na­tions. While it isn’t ideal to trans­fer cus­tomers from Suva to Nadi by road, at times it is the only op­tion avail­able. “Where seats are avail­able on our Twin Ot­ter and ATR air­craft, we are able to fly them to Nadi to catch a con­nect­ing in­ter­na­tional flight.”

Loss of money con­cerns

The Con­sumer Coun­cil in­di­cated they re­ceived com­plaints about some pas­sen­gers suf­fer­ing fi­nan­cial loss as they could not take their duty-free pur­chases al­ready made at Nau­sori Air­port to Nadi. AFL said they have seen the com­plaints lodged with the coun­cil but there are a num­ber of agen­cies in­volved in duty free goods clear­ance. These in­clude Cus­toms, air­port se­cu­rity, air­lines, duty free op­er­a­tors, spe­cific des­ti­na­tion coun­try se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions, un­der the over­all guid­ance of the reg­u­la­tor CAAF that are set up based on ICAO safety reg­u­la­tions.

“In a one-off un­fore­seen oc­cur­rence, it is dif­fi­cult to change the safety reg­u­la­tions and sys­tems with multi agen­cies in­volved,” AFL said. “We have nev­er­the­less taken the Con­sumer Coun­cils con­cerns on board and will work with all agen­cies. “We in­vite pas­sen­gers who have been af­fected in not being able to take their duty free goods abroad to con­tact AFL with their spe­cific de­tails. “We will work with the rel­e­vant agen­cies to find so­lu­tions. We once again apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience caused out of this un­fore­seen.”

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