Fiji Airways expresses opposition to open skies

26 June, 2018

Fiji Airways CEO and MD Andre Viljoen warned that an open skies policy for Fiji would have a negative impact on the national airline amid increased competition from international carriers (Fiji Sun, 25-Jun-2018). Mr Viljoen said: "The first aspect is air access. Does the Government let anybody in who wants to fly here or are they managing the open liberalisation of flying here in a proper manner? Now there are airlines out there whose business model is not about the country they fly to, it's about themselves. In fact, all airlines have that, it's their starting point. These big airlines come in on level playing fields and wipe out the small national carrier. Open skies is expected to give more people, more flights but what it does it creates more chaos. The reality is there is no history to show that it has actually benefitted the country, benefitted the other airlines or benefitted those huge carriers and add another destination to dump capacity in and destroy the local airline. With lower ticket prices, it will increase traffic and the history says that 90 small airlines have disappeared. They were wiped out by the big guys and you think the country is better off?. Mr Viljoen used the Maldives as example, stating: "It has no airline. They are struggling today with air access because the airlines flying there will decide when they want to, how they want to fly themselves for the country".