29 Mar 2012

Questions about Fiji's ability to run Air Pacific alone

4:30 pm on 29 March 2012

An aviation journalist says there are questions around how capable the Fiji interim government will be in running its national carrier after it announced it will be taking control of Air Pacific from Qantas.

Fiji owns a majority stake in the airline but the Attorney General and Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Australian company, with just under 47 percent of the shares, has maintained effective control since 1998.

The interim government has issued a decree that will give Fiji full control of Air Pacific.

Ben Sandilands, an Australian based freelance journalist, says what happens to the airline now will be crucial.

"It's very important that the Fiji government prove to be brilliantly capable of running Air Pacific otherwise there will be an immediate and very serious effect on the Fiji tourism economy and indeed on business connections to Fiji."

Ben Sandilands says how well the interim government does will depend on who they choose to run the airline and the freedom they give the new management.