Fiji Airways has again stressed it is facing unfair competition from the big Australian flag carrier Qantas.
Fiji Airways Managing Director/CEO Andre Viljoen had said in an interview published in yesterday’s Fiji Sun Business liftout: “Qantas is a commercial partner and also competitor.”
He added in further comments published on our website and in our e-edition: “We welcome competition if it’s a level playing field.
However, with a large airline with its enormous market power in Australia, this isn’t the case and we feel that is quite unfair.”
Continuing behind-the-scenes questions about the motives of Qantas in the Fijian aviation market flared into the open mid last month.
Both the Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mr Viljoen spoke out in comments we published then.
They questioned what is being called “aggressive escalation” by Qantas.
As we reported then the robust level of the language used reflects the concern over damage Qantas could do to Fiji Airways.
Words like cannibalising and going from commercial partner to competitor.
The Australian airline holds 46 per cent of shares in Fiji Airways and has long operated a successful code-sharing partnership with seats on Fiji Airways flights.
Yet the Australians have now three times surprised Fiji Airways. First by launching Qantas low-cost subsidiary Jetstar on to Australia-Fiji routes. Then by launching four-times-a week full-service Sydney-Nadi -Sydney flights by Qantas itself. Now by planning to increase the
Qantas services to daily.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum while chief guest at the South Pacific Stock Exchange Annual Awards 2019 in Suva said there are some issues with Qantas cannibalising the market even though they have a 46 per cent stake in Fiji Airways. But hopefully, it can be resolved in the next
couple of weeks, he said.
Obviously not yet, according to Mr Viljoen’s comments on Friday
A Qantas spokesman earlier told the Sydney Morning Herald that Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar both operate services between Sydney and Nadi but the majority of Qantas flights were through the codeshare partnership with Fiji Airways.
“We remain committed to that arrangement,” the Qantas spokesman said. He said the daily service would operate only “for a short period over the Christmas and New Year period.”
Source: Fiji Sun