No need to fully access the $455 million loan if travel bubble is up

No need to fully access the $455 million loan if travel bubble is up

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 28/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that if the travel bubble is up this year then there will be no need to access all of the $455 million loan for Fiji Airways that the government has agreed to guarantee.

While responding to a question by Assistant Minister for Waterways, Viam Pillay on the financial and operational future of Fiji Airways, Sayed-Khaiyum says they will not have to use that amount because at the end of the day, Fiji Airways will have to pay that amount back.

In his response to the National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad’s question about the airline’s plans given the uncertainty in the industry, Sayed-Khaiyum says the $455 million can carry Fiji Airways into May or June next year but the airline has different cash flow projections.

The Minister says Fiji Airways has worked out about 20 different scenarios in regards to the operations of the airline.

He adds that one of the key issues when they get Fiji Airways up and running is to give the confidence to members of the public who they open up the travel bubble with.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that even if Australia includes Fiji in its travel bubble, people will not rush to travel between the countries if they do not feel safe about COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Minister says several operational features will have to change that will include the training of crew members, how meals are prepared and served, staff uniform which could include masks, how people check in and other standard operating procedures.

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