Nausori Airport struggling to achieve return on investment

June 5, 2024 12:16 pm

[File Photo]

Fiji Airports Chief Executive Mesake Nawari says the Nausori Airport is struggling to achieve a sustainable return on the $60 million investment carried out on the runway in 2021.

Nawari today highlighted the challenges while making submission to the Standing Committee on Social Affairs on the Fiji Airports 2021 Annual Report.

He says they invested millions on the runway hoping more international flights would land in Nausori.

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However, he says the international flights that used to fly out of Nausori, to Sydney and Auckland once a week, did not continue after October 2022.

Nawari adds only Fiji Airways can fly at Nausori Airport currently, and most tourists prefer to land in Nadi.

[File Photo]

He stresses there is a need for government support to facilitate international flights and bolster revenues from Nausori Airport.

“So for Fiji Airways, it’s a commercial decision to fly. Yeah, and maybe an area that government can look at, you know, can support Fiji Airways to start flying some international flights and bring the visitors here. And in that way also helps Fiji Airports to make the necessary investment. You make $60 million and you get $9 million, almost $10 million loss every year. It doesn’t make commercial sense unless there’s support provided, at least in the capital expenditure side.”

He says they are considering several development options to maximize the potential of Nausori Airport.

“We are looking at the options for Nausori now, and we should take it to our board in June and hopefully go to the Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism and also Minister of Finance to see how we can work on the capital expenditure at least to expand the current building and or build a new international terminal, Nausori. For Fiji Airports, once it’s done, be able to build the commercial side to support and sustain the operations of the airport. So we just need a funding partnership in there or something similar to what’s happening in Labasa you know, with World Bank funding, providing some funding, and Fiji Airports providing some funding in there.”

Nawari has announced several significant infrastructure projects and strategic initiatives to enhance aviation capabilities.

He revealed a $10 million project to upgrade five outer island airports focusing on pavement and runway enhancements.