Aviation safety has been seriously compromised with both Nadi and Nausori International Airports unable to provide correct air traffic control information to pilots of both departing and incoming aircraft.
This is due to an acute shortage of air traffic controllers who are not at work over Air Ports Fiji Limited’s handling of their employment conditions.
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says he has been informed that both Nadi and Nausori Airports have been classified as Category G – which means pilots taking off or landing their aircraft are doing so at their own determination of aviation safety.
“They are not able to receive information from air traffic controllers due to acute shortage of staff. Both Nadi and Nausori airport control towers are severely under-manned by over-worked controllers, Further, training, recreational and helicopter flights have also been stopped”.
“Aviation safety is seriously compromised. We have been informed pilots do not receive information about Fiji’s Flight Region that also covers regional airspaces. We are surprised that CAAF (Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji) that is supposed to be the regulatory body is silent on such a serious issue”.
“This is unacceptable. We question whether the CAAF Board, which is made up of non-aviation experts, understands the seriousness of the situation caused by Airports Fiji Limited’s handling of the employment issues of air traffic controllers”.
“Worse, the Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, who is the Attorney General is also silent. Ironically, he is also responsible as Public Enterprises Minister for Airports Fiji Limited whose Executive Chairman’s handling of talks with air traffic controllers has worsened the situation”.
“We question does this mean that profitability and declaration of hefty dividends is more important than aviation safety and lives of the people?”