By Netani Rika
DOMESTIC and international flights at Fiji’s airports continue as scheduled a week after air traffic controllers quit their posts demanding better pay and conditions.
Fiji Airports Limited says it has revised procedures in line with practices used in other countries.
“We have repeatedly said that based on the situation, we have implemented a revised procedure,” Fiji Airports Limited said in a statement. “We have discussed and received the buy-in of all airlines, based on a number of strategies to drastically reduce the air traffic in our skies and runways.
“We have not experienced any delays to scheduled international and domestic flights.”
The company denied claims by striking workers that air traffic controllers had worked six days straight were not true. “Statements that our controllers have been continuously working for 6 days are blatantly false and irresponsible,” a Fiji Airports spokesperson said.
The company claimed that a small number of people wanted to bring the country to a halt by disrupting air traffic control services.
“Fiji Airports is requesting and urging other controllers to return to work and discuss any issues they may have; as we have done so on numerous occasions in the past through dialogue and resolution,” the spokesperson said. “Air traffic services are operating with safety as our paramount consideration.”
Workers said they were forced to quit after talks with Fiji Airports Executive Director, Faiz Ali, collapsed last week and Labour Minister, Praveen Bala, refused to meet them despite promising to discuss their grievances.
The workers claim air traffic controllers on duty have reduced their services and put additional strain on pilots. Fiji Airports said that since the initial action taken by the protesting workers on March 20, some controllers had returned to work.
This claim has been disputed by the protesting controllers who said only one officer had resumed work.
IB Online has also sought confirmation from FAL about unofficial reports that one particular foreign airline has suspended its flights into Nadi.