While competition from United Airlines is good, Tourism Fiji says the industry must also recognize the efforts and contributions of the national airline, Air Pacific.
Tourism Fiji Chairman Patrick Wong was responding to news that United is seriously interested in resuming flights between the US and Fiji.
He said the industry welcomed an open sky policy aimed at long-term benefits for the tourism industry.
Mr. Wong said the market should grow with better connectivity, opening up new regions with wider market penetration and more options for the traveling public with the additional seat capacity out of North America and competition.
“While we favor competition, we need to recognize the efforts and contribution of our national airline, Air Pacific, towards Fiji’s tourism industry,” he said.
Mr. Wong said that Air Pacific was inclusively toughening out the many periods of recovery in times of adverse climate and working in partnership with Tourism Fiji, branding Destination Fiji, securing seat capacity, opening and expanding into new markets and growing existing markets aimed at developing Fiji’s tourism industry.
He said that Air Pacific had been instrumental in leading major initiatives across key markets in our recovery process and was solely dedicated to Fiji.
“We need to assess Air Pacific’s value to Fiji’s needs and the value to growing the industry. The tourism industry needs stability, competition, air capacity and frequency from all markets.”
Civil Aviation director Akuila Waradi said the American Embassy had written to his department requesting for the formalization of designating United Airlines as its national carrier.
Mr. Waradi said if given the green light, United Airlines was likely to spread its wings to Fiji for the second time.
He said that United did fly into Fiji at one stage, code sharing with Continental Airlines.