16 Jun 2005

Predictions that regional air deal will destroy Fiji tourism

7:43 am on 16 June 2005

Fiji will not sign the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement, PIASA.

The Fiji Times reports that this has been revealed by the chief executive of the civil aviation ministry, Vuetasau Buatoka.

Mr Buatoka says if Fiji signs the agreement, it will allow foreign airlines to fly into the country without restrictions and result in a loss of business for the national airline, Air Pacific.

Mr Buatoka says Fiji cannot afford to lose its tourism industry at a time when there is no guarantee that sugar will survive.

Seven of the 14 Pacific Island Forum countries have signed the open skies agreement - the Cook Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.