24 Apr 2007

Australia and New Zealand revoke visas of some Fiji airline staff

9:21 am on 24 April 2007

Fiji's national airline, Air Pacific, has revealed that seven members of its flying crew have had their visas revoked by Australia and New Zealand because of their ties to the military.

The Fiji Times repots that the relatives of two pilots whose visas have been revoked were those appointed to public or private sector positions after the military takeover.

The five flight attendants are married to military officers.

Air Pacific's managing director, John Campbell, says with about 350 cabin crew and 100 pilots, they have been able to roster the flying duties of the seven so that they travel only to destinations where they have valid visas.

The general secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Kamlesh Kumar, says they have written to the diplomatic missions concerned to reconsider the visa revocations because visas are a tool of trade for the flying crew and it is affecting their work.

Mr Kumar says the union is open to dialogue with the missions but if Air Pacific sacks the crew because of their lack of visas, there will be serious repercussions.