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The News

From Bulgarian News Agency (24 March 2017)

Konrote & Pope
Pope Francis welcomes President of the Republic of Fiji Jioji Konousi Konrote, left, on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Friday, March 24, 2017.

From Fiji Sun online (9 March 2017)

The process to upgrade the Rotuma Airstrip is currently in progress.

This was confirmed by the Solicitor-General, Sharvada Sharma, during their presentation of their Audit Report of 2014 to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday.

Committee member Aseri Radrodro had questioned the current development of the
airstrip.

Mr Sharma responded that if developed, Rotuma could be a transit point to other Pacific regions like Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna and Kiribati.

Airports Fiji Limited would be progressing in that area once the Nadi International Airport renovation is completed.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki


From Fiji Times Online (3 March 2017)

Runway extension

By Filipe Naigulevu

MORE Rotumans can now travel to their homeland with the upgrade and extension works on the Rotuma runway.

And this will bring about new economic possibilities for those in Rotuma and all Fijians at large.

This was highlighted by Airports Fiji Ltd executive chairman Faiz Khan while making a presentation of their 2015 annual report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs yesterday.

Mr Khan said this was part of their projects this year which would see the upgrade works on a number of airports and runways.

"For Rotuma it has been a dream, a desire and it has been a hope of all Rotumans and Fijians to have a runway to cater for larger aircraft for the last three decades," he said.

"As of yesterday (Wednesday), the barge carrying the equipment docked at Rotuma in the afternoon and at present is in the process of demobilising the equipment so that they can start upgrading Rotuma."

Previously, Mr Khan said, Twin Otters had serviced Rotuma with a maximum passenger capacity of seven.

"The purpose of expansion for Rotuma is to allow larger aircraft like the size of ATR 72s which can carry up to 72 passengers," he said.

"If we increase from seven to 72, logically we can understand what that does to the Rotuman people and it will simply expand Rotuma and make it closer to Viti Levu."

Mr Khan said the Rotuma runway project, which had a budget of about $13 million, would be completed by early next year.

"It took a few days for the barge to arrive into Rotuma with all the equipment," he said.

"So the contractor is in the process of demobilising and mobilising on site at present and it's going to be another challenge because the only way you can transport big equipment is through barging and that itself is a risk."

Because of this, Mr Khan said AFL consultants were on site to identify and mitigate these risks.

"This will allow Rotumans to commute more frequently and make them a greater part of the Fijian economy and this is the most welcoming news for the Rotumans and the general public who are travelling to the island," he said.

Mr Khan also outlined similar sentiments on the extension works on the Matei Airport on Taveuni.

"Similarly with Matei, it is going to happen in the very near future," he told members of the standing committee.

"We are not talking about some plan that will happen in 10 years' time.

"We are talking about modernisation taking place where we'll see the results and for Matei we have a targeted date around the end of next year for expansion."

Government had allocated $150,000 for the expansion of the runway at Matei Airport.

Mr Khan said this was their main purpose in line with Government's vision to ensure that we bring the people of Fiji new possibilities.


From Fiji Sun online (3 March 2017)

Rotuma Airport Upgrade Barge Arrives

Around $13 million will be invested into the upgrade of Rotuma Airport to cater for bigger
airplanes.

This was revealed by Airports Fiji Limited executive chair, Faiz Khan while presenting
their 2015 annual report before the Standing Committee on Social Affairs in Parliament
yesterday.

He said a barge loaded with equipment for carrying out the upgrade at the airport arrived
on the island on Wednesday.

For the last three decades, Mr Khan said it had been the dream and hope of Rotumans to
have their airport runways expanded to cater for bigger airplanes.

He said the contractors were currently in the process of demobilising the equipment
before starting the upgrade at Rotuma Airport.

Mr Khan said the airport was expected to be up and running earlier next year.

However, he said one of the challenges they faced in the shipment of upgrade equipment
to Rotuma, was because the island was isolated.

Mr Khan said the contractors were trying to find solutions in trying to get the equipment
over to the island.

The bigger aircraft would have a seating capacity 10 times more than the current one.

Mr Khan said this development would connect people on Rotuma closer to the main
islands.

He also said that upgrades on Matei Aiport in Taveuni would be completed by the end of
next year.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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