17 Nov 2006

Air Traffic control contract cancelled in Fiji

11:43 am on 17 November 2006

The state-owned Airports Fiji Limited has cancelled the air traffic control management contract it gave to the indigenous Strategic Air Services Limited in 1999.

The action at an emergency meeting last night follows long standing problems in SASL which culminated in the sacking of several controllers last Friday.

This left manning levels at the Nadi Airport air traffic control tower at a level which compromised safe air travel.

The Fiji Times quotes the assistant secretary general of the Fiji Trades Union Congress. Rajeshwar Singh, as saying the controllers are very happy with the decision and are looking forward to working for Airports Fiji Limited again.

Yesterday only one air traffic controller was on duty at Nadi Control assisted by an assistant, leading to safety concerns for international airlines being raised in parliament.

Minimum international standards require three air traffic controllers and an assistant to be on duty at Nadi Airport on every shift.