Airports Fiji Limited became Fiji Airports Limited after it was renamed by the Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the significance of the name change was the branding and since the national airline was known as Fiji Airways, it was only fitting that they fly to Fiji Airports.
He said it is also symbolic of the fact that it does not look after Nadi International Airport alone but all airports in Fiji.
He highlighted the re-branding was also in line with the re-naming of other organisations like Tourism Fiji, Investments Fiji and Film Fiji.
He noted that a number of changes have been made to ensure that the brand of Fiji is marketed well because Fiji is a small developing country and one of its key assets is “our name.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said when the name of Fiji was mentioned overseas it conjured a lot of positive vibes about Fiji.
He said when you mention Fiji to a stranger overseas, the automatic reaction is a smile and this was something positive and needed to be capitalised upon.
He noted that Fiji is competing with the rest of the world and the region and that “ we need to stay one step ahead of the game”.
This means that Fiji needs to offer good products and position itself as a country well, he said. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in the past 18 months, through Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji has had enormous footprint internationally through COP23, the chairing of the Oceans conference and the chairing of the G77 and various organisations.
Ultimately, he said the idea was for ordinary Fijians to benefit from this footprint and branding.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that modern systems needed to be in place unlike before where things were done haphazardly including taxis servicing the airport and which has now changed.
He said, when tourists arrive at the airport they see everything is modern clean and that is what makes it attractive as a tourist destination. He noted that tourists would have many choices from looking at the pricing, the country, law and order, safety, security, the airport and other things considered by the modern day traveler and that’s how they make their decisions.
He cited Singapore where the airports were clean and have managed to brand themselves despite processing 50 million travelers annually as compared to nearly two million by Fiji Airports.
He said Fiji needs to be able to do that.
He reiterated what Fiji Airports Limited executive chairman Faiz Khan had mentioned about prime Government land that was given away some years ago through a directive by a former minister was a huge loss to the ordinary Fijian people.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it has restricted the ability to be able to maintain state assets for benefit for every other Fijian.
He noted what they are trying to do in Fiji is to have a holistic approach to planning and think 15 to 30 years ahead because that’s what great countries are made of.
He also mentioned how airport outlets which were prime real estate were leased out years ago at only one fifth of the price as those in Namaka. He said it was preposterous and silly that is what happened.
He stated that if an airport was operated in the right manner, then it would get the right rental and revenue and the staff would benefit too.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum paid special mention to Mr Khan who ensured the airport was where it was today.
The new Nadi International Airport terminal will officially be opened by the Prime Minister on June 1.
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