Fiji to negotiate Air Service Agreement with India

Fiji is expecting to sign an Air Service Agreement (ASA) with India.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum revealed over the weekend that a team from India will be in Fiji in January 2016 to carry out talks over the ASA.

“Hopefully they’ll be down here in the middle of January. We need to finalize that because India is now the second largest outbound market in the world and in the next five to ten years will be the largest outbound market. So, Fiji having a direct flight to Singapore means we need to level of connectivity with India vis-à-vis Singapore.”

In a trip to India earlier this year, the AG had stated there is also a possibility of code-sharing by Indian Airlines with Fiji Airways.

Meanwhile, Fiji Airways Group shareholders has announced changes to the company’s Board of Directors following its Annual General Meeting, with a new Chairman and Director appointed.

Incumbent Chairman Nalin Patel and Director Stefan Pichler were both farewelled by the shareholders, and replaced on the Board by Rajesh Punja, Director of the Punja Group of Companies and Shaheen Ali, Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, respectively.

Three existing Board Directors will continue for another term. They are:

*Retired executive Aslam Khan 

*Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma and,

*Managing Director and CEO (MDCEO)Andre Viljoen.

Making the announcement on behalf of major shareholder the Fijian Government, Sayed-Khaiyum thanked the outgoing Directors for their service to Fiji’s National Airline.

“Mr. Patel has been a Director of Fiji Airways since 1993, and Chairman since 2006”, the AG said. “He has been part of the airline through some of the most challenging and rewarding transformations in its history, and we thank him for his dedication and commitment to this very important Fijian company.”

“During his Chairmanship, Fiji Airways has rebranded into a proud National Carrier which operates profitably. With the support of the Bainimarama Government and now the FijiFirst Government, a number of legacy issues have been addressed, the whole fleet modernised, the working conditions of staff have greatly improved including profit sharing and the airline’s network and footprint has expanded. Mr. Nalin Patel and former MD/CEO Stefan Pichler were both key in driving these changes. We owe them our gratitude.”

Sayed-Khaiyum added that 2016 will be an important year for the airline, marking 65 years since its existence.

“With the addition of new aircraft like the incoming A330-300 and new routes like Singapore from April, Fiji Airways will continue to grow. The revamped Board of Directors along with the shareholders will provide the airline’s management, under new MDCEO Andre Viljoen, all the support they need to ensure the airline provides returns to its shareholders, staff and the Fijian economy.”