24 Jan 2006

Boost for shipping to Fiji's outer island

10:26 am on 24 January 2006

The Fiji government has increased funding for this year's shipping franchise scheme to almost US$1.2 million in a bid to improve access to outer islands.

The Fijilive website reports that under the scheme, access to Rotuma, Lomaiviti, Kadavu, Cikobia, Yasawa and the Lau group would be given a special government subsidy.

Another US$215,000 has been set aside to improve air access for uneconomical routes such as Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Koro, Rotuma, Moala and Gau.

While Ono-i-Lau has also been included in Government's domestic air services subsidy scheme.

Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says the once a month subsidised flight to Ono-i-Lau will ease transportation problems currently faced by about 800 people in the four villages on the island.

Ratu Naiqama believes a reduction in airfares through the domestic Air services subsidy scheme should see a possible increase in the number of visits of relatives and people of Ono-i-Lau from Viti Levu.