31 Oct 2018

Rotuma getting more plane seats at less cost after airport upgrade

12:48 pm on 31 October 2018

A major upgrade of the runway on the Fiji island of Rotuma is likely to mean more regular and cheaper flights.

A satellite view of Rotuma

A satellite view of Rotuma Photo: Rotuma.net

The new 1,400-metre chipseal runway, which has been 40 years in the making, was opened on Monday and is now the country's longest domestic runway.

It replaces a grass airstrip that was often closed for weeks on end by flooding.

The executive chairperson of Airports Fiji, Faiz Khan, said larger aircraft are now able to fly to Rotuma, which means a tenfold increase in passenger capacity.

"And now we leave it to the airlines and also the market to realise the potential that the islands present to the rest of Fiji and also the rest of the world by running more flights by running larger aircraft and thereby reducing the cost and thereby having the effect of greater economic growth in Rotuma."

Mr Khan said completing the project has been a huge logistical challenge for his team with most of the cost going into transporting people and materials to Rotuma which is more than 500 kms away from Nadi and is closer to Tuvalu than the main islands in Fiji.

Apart from the runway, the airport now has improved drainage, new security fencing and a new fire station and fire truck.