2006/08/27

Suva International Airport Expansion

Fiji has two international airports, but most flights land at Nadi on the west end of Viti Levu, which can handle wide body aircraft such as the 747. The other is at Nausori, 23 km northeast of the capital city of Suva, but the runway does not accommodate large aircraft so gets limited use for international flights.

That will change soon, as a $40 million project will begin in December to extend the runway an additional 345 meters (1132 feet), which will allow unrestricted use by aircraft such as the 737-800s which Air Pacific presently flies between Hawaii and Nadi. (But still not the "heavy iron" like 747s or MD-11s).

AIRLINERS.NET Photo ID: 1059387
Click for Larger Image


Above: View on final approach to runway 10 at Nausori Airport (Suva International) in an Air Fiji Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia (a twin engine turbo prop). The plane is headed approximately East with the Rewa River on the right.

The newly completed bridge over the Rewa River that you may have read about on Babasiga already makes it easier to get to the airport. By the way, NZM of M and J Adventures tells me that her first ever airplane ride was from this airport - in a DC-3. I would add on her behalf that the DC - 3 does not indicate NZM's age, but rather the slower pace of aviation progress in Fiji.

In addition, a new terminal building will be constructed starting in May of next year. The improvements will make a big difference to Suva bound travelers. This is good news for me too, as Nausori is much closer to Taveuni than is Nadi and will shave an hour off regional trips.

11 comments:

nzm said...

No widebodies will be seen here too often.

So nothing's changed much then?!

My first ever plane flight was from Nausori - in a DC3!

Great pic - nice lighting balance.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

'This photo is copyright protected...' So, what's the policy on pinching pics from the internet? I'm afraid I do it a lot, but try to name the source somehow.
Nausori is going to develop - really?
One the the strangest trips I made was from Nadi to Labasa in a plane with about eight passengers. I reckon it was put together with chewing gum and string. Lovely views of the mountains though.
W.

Pandabonium said...

Sorry for any confusion here. I was experimenting with a javascript and accidently posted the picture before the post was complete.

Wendy - most of us "borrow" pictures and it is usually OK, especially if we give the source, but some websites like Airliners.net are devoted to photos and are a place where photographers market their pictures and so are very protective of them. In such a case I either don't use the pic or I follow their directions - in this case linking to the site for the larger image.

NZM - On my rewrite I included part of your comment. A DC-3, I've never had the pleasure. I remember seeing one in the air museum in Melbourne that had belonged to Ansett. It had something like 86,000 hours on it. Later, I rode next to the VP of maintenance for that airline and he told me about using that same airplane for company picnics.

nzm said...

Thanks for the diplomacy, PB, but I think that it also has something to do with my age! I also remember going down to Nasese to watch the flying boats (Sunderlands?) take off and land.

There are still a few DC3s used in NZ for sight-seeing and crop-dusting. Two of them have been used at restaurants - McDonald's in Taupo, and the one at Mangaweka is a tea room. The history of this aircraft is up on the walls of the plane. Interestingly, it was once leased to Fiji Airways, so it could possibly be the plane on which I took my very first flight!

The DC3 is one of my favourite sentimental aircrafts - perhaps because of my first ever flight - but also because they conjure up memories of times when travelling was an artform that was classy and formal.

nzm said...

Silly me - it wasn't Nasese - the flying boats were based at Laucala Bay.

Pandabonium said...

Those were big flying boats. Flying was indeed a more formal affair - and expensive. As a kid I went with my family from California to Hawaii in 1958 on a United DC-7 - a propeller airplane with four big radial engines. It took 8 1/2 hours. I got to visit the cockpit where five guys worked - pilot & co-pilot, flight engineer, radio operator and navigator. I still have a post card the pilot autographed for me.

Robin said...

may be a dumb question.

But why does Fiji require 2 international airport?

Most country has one domestic and one international

Pandabonium said...

Well, you know Japan has multiple international airports. Of course Japan is spread out so it saves a lot of extra travel to have multiple airports to choose from.

Suva, the Capitol of Fiji is on the opposite end of the main island from the big airport of Nadi and it is a one hour flight or very long drive/taxi/bus ride from Nadi to Suva. It is much more convenient for business and government people especially who do business in Suva to fly there directly and so there are flights from Tonga, New Zealand, Samoa, etc that go in and out of Suva's airport. Nadi handles the big airplanes, such as those that come from Japan, USA, and Australia, and Singapore.

Why not have two?

The Moody Minstrel said...

Heck, why not have six?

I would love to have a chance to fly on a DC-3. Those planes were so reliable and have so much character.

nzm said...

Pandabonium: I found some interesting links with images of the NZ Airforce Sunderlands at Laucala Bay, and also the history of TEAL (now Air NZ) who flew the Coral Route in Solents.

A wonderful romantic bygone era, perfectly described in the latter link.

Pandabonium said...

A true classic of the air, Moody.

Thanks for the links NZM. Cool.