Air Fiji appears to have finally come to an end.
The financially-troubled carrier’s sudden closure late on 30 April does not augur well.
Its main telephone lines have been disconnected, its website has a simple message saying it cannot take any bookings and its staff have been told to stay home.
The exact details on why the airline has closed remains a mystery but the carrier’s CEO, Sialeni Vuetaki, has publicly stated on several occasions over the years the carrier is under financial strain.
The most recent time he suggested this was sometime around August when he was trying to get the workforce to accept a wage cut and the out-sourcing of some jobs.
This week the airline’s chairman, Wu Shengyue, is quoted in the Fijian press as saying the airline needs F$3 million ($1.4 million) in new capital to restart.
The reports say the carrier’s major owner, the Government of Tuvalu, is looking at restarting the airline.
But one has to wonder whether it will work. Air Fiji faces stiff competition from Fiji’s national carrier Air Pacific which has the support of the Fijian Government.
Air Fiji has already been kicked off international routes and Fiji’s domestic routes appear to be a shrinking market due to all the national uncertainty.
Fiji’s government has just been removed from power and the country’s president is now in charge. The political uncertainty means tourists are likely to stay away from the Pacific island nation.