Fiji’s oldest operating domestic airline, Air Fiji, has declared bankruptcy and stopped flying. The airline’s board of directors announced that they had no choice other than to declare bankruptcy to avoid breaking the law by conducting business from an insolvent position. The company’s losses amount to millions of dollars and payments on three leased Chinese aircraft were not being made. Over 200 workers have lost their jobs.
A joint venture between the Tuvalu Government and a Chinese aircraft manufacturer, Air Fiji operated domestic flights from their base in Suva to Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, and many outer islands in eastern Fiji. They also flew internationally from Suva to Funafuti, Tuvalu, and less regularly to Tonga. Air Fiji had been competing fiercly with Pacific Sun, the former Sun Air which was purchased by Air Pacific in 2006. Pacific Sun was undercutting Air Fiji’s fares and duplicating some of their routes, and the weaker player has now folded. (Air Pacific is owned by Qantas and the Fiji Government.)
Air Fiji’s departure leaves a huge gap in Fiji’s transportation network and it’s to be hoped that the company will reorganize and begin operating again soon. Fresh investors are welcome.
I made a trip to Fiji July of last year and had many problems with the airline. This was my first international trip; I thought I was going to be stranded on the mainland and never get to my destination (Qamea) that had been paid for well in advance. What a nightmare! Any idea what the islands and the resorts are now doing for transportation? I was wanting to go back in the near future. An email response would be great and helpful!