2 Dec 2003

Air Pacific puts aircraft purchase on hold

8:27 am on 2 December 2003

Fiji's national airline, Air Pacific, has put on hold plans to buy two new aircraft because it already has more seats than the number of visitors the country's hotels can accommodate.

The Fiji Times reports Air Pacific has told the National Tourism Forum that the airline can provide 1.5 million seats on its flight schedule.

But the airline chief executive, John Campbell, says it is not doing that because of the lack of hotel accommodation.

Mr Campbell says Air Pacific is currently providing 1.2 million seats but has another 300,000 in reserve.

Meanwhile, Air Pacific is in negotiation with the Kiribati government to provide Christmas Island as an alternative emergency landing point between Fiji and Honolulu for its twin-engine jets.

This has been prompted by the decision of the United States to close down Johnston Atoll, its former chemical weapons destruction facility, and turn it into a bird sanctuary just after Christmas.