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Fiji Airways and Fiji Link schedules at the country’s two international airports were unaffected by the shortage of air traffic controllers.
Many of the air traffic controllers, who are said to number between 30 and 35, were not at work Wednesday.
They told the Fiji Sun they were staying away from work because of the manner in which Fiji Airports handled their grievances regarding employment conditions.
A Fiji Airways spokesperson said hat Fiji Airways and Fiji Link schedules were unaffected.
The spokesperson said both airlines followed ATC procedures as laid out in the Fiji Aeronautical Information Publication.
A source said the air traffic controllers had been talking to Fiji Airports for almost one year now regarding their employment conditions, but nothing had been done to address the issue.
Responding to media queries last night, Fiji Airports Executive Chairman Faiz Khan said: “We will not be making any media comments on it at the present time. We would rather our controllers hear directly from us than through the media.
“We have taken note of the order of the Minister (for Civil Aviation).
“Over the past couple of days, we have held a number of meetings with our controllers and thank them for their participation.
“As part of Fiji Airports culture, we have at all times held that our doors are open to our controllers for dialogue and discussions.
“We look forward to working together with our controllers, and having further discussions to hear any issues that our controllers have with a view to reaching a fair and equitable resolution.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) says it is closely monitoring the situation at the two international airports to ensure safety is maintained at all times.
It made the statement in response to claims by an Opposition political party that aviation safety at the country’s two international airports had been compromised because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.
“Contingency procedures that have been developed for such situations have been activated to ensure the safety of the travelling public is not compromised under the current Fiji Airports staffing circumstances,” CAAF said in response.
The National Federation Party (NFP), in a statement released by its leader Biman Prasad, claimed air traffic controllers were not at work because of Fiji Airports’ handling of their employment conditions.
“We question whether the CAAF Board, which is made up of non- aviation experts, understands the seriousness of the situation caused by Fiji Airports handling of the employment issues of air traffic controllers,” he said.
An aviation company says it is losing a lot of money because of an impasse between air traffic controllers and their employer, Fiji Airports.
Joyce Aviation Group owner Tim Joyce said the situation had been disastrous for them.
“A large part is the uncertainty of it.
“Initially we were told the issue was due to sickness and they should get staffing by midday Tuesday,” he said.
“So, we rescheduled our meeting to this afternoon (yesterday) and then we had to cancel it.
“You can imagine that this up- sets the customers who commit a lot of their day and their valuable time in doing this activity.
“A lot of them come to Fiji to do skydiving in Fiji, so we have shut down the Flying School.
SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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