29 Mar 2012

Fiji economy could suffer from shutting out of Qantas

8:16 pm on 29 March 2012

An aviation journalist says the move by the Fiji interim government to prevent Qantas from having any decision-making control over the national carrier has the potential to hurt the Fiji economy.

The interim government has issued a decree that gives it full management control of Air Pacific, while Qantas will still retain its main minority shareholder stake.

Ben Sandilands, an Australian based freelance journalist, says Qantas could take some credit for Air Pacific being a better run airline in recent years.

But he says it frustrated the regime when it launched its Jet Star brand, which competed directly with the Air Pacific.

"I don't think they're terribly concerned with what happens from this point on. They will obviously seek to continue flying there with Jet Star. If action was taken against Jet Star I think you would find there would be retaliation by the Australian authorities. The whole outlook for that sort of escalation and tension is one which would do a lot of harm to the Fiji economy."

Aviation journalist Ben Sandilands.