26 Mar 2004

Fiji rejects Australian terrorist security concerns

1:41 pm on 26 March 2004

Aviation authorities in Fiji have played down comments by the Australian transport minister, John Anderson, that flights from Pacific countries would be stopped from entering Australia if security was lax.

Mr Anderson is reported to have warned South Pacific countries that unless they upgrade their airport security, their airlines would be denied access.

The chief executive of Airports Fiji Limited, Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia, says the recent incident where a passenger boarded an Air Niugini international flight in Port Moresby with a gun could only happen in Papua New Guinea.

And the chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, Norman Yee, says he doesn't read too much into Mr Anderson's concerns.

"As far as Fiji is concerned we, I believe, have kept our security provisions to the international civil aviation standards. And we have been regularly audited by the regulatory authorities of Australia and New Zealand and even the FAA which is now Homeland Security, and if we were not up to standard, our aircraft would not have been allowed to land in the United States for example."

Norman Yee of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji