Nadi International Airport

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Nadi International Airport
Nadi Airport - International Departures 2.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OperatorAirports Fiji Limited (AFL)
ServesNadi
LocationNadi, Viti Levu, Fiji
Hub for
Elevation AMSL18 m / 59 ft
Coordinates17°45′19″S 177°26′36″E / 17.75528°S 177.44333°E / -17.75528; 177.44333
Websiteairportsfiji.com
Map
NAN is located in Fiji
NAN
NAN
Location of airport in Fiji
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 3,206 10,518 Bituminous
09/27 2,134 7,001 Bituminous
Statistics (2019)
Total passengers2,485,319
International passengers2,166,584
Domestic passengers318,735
Source: Airports Fiji Limited (AFL)[1]
Nadi Airport international apron

Nadi International Airport (IATA: NAN, ICAO: NFFN) is the main international airport of Fiji as well as an important regional hub for the South Pacific islands, located by the coast on the western side of the main island Viti Levu. Owned and operated by Fiji Airports Limited,[2] It is the main hub of Fiji Airways and its domestic and regional subsidiary Fiji Link. The airport is located at Namaka 10 km from the city of Nadi and 20 km from the city of Lautoka. In 2019, it handled 2,485,319 passengers on international and domestic flights. It handles about 97% of international visitors to Fiji, of which 86% are tourists.[1] Despite being Fiji's main airport it is a considerable distance from the country's major population centre; located 192 kilometres (119 mi) northwest of the country's capital and largest city Suva and its airport, Nausori International Airport.

History[edit]

The original airstrips at Nadi were built by New Zealand from August 1939, being completed in March 1940, and were paid for by the British colonial authorities. They were extended by New Zealand from November 1941; the first 7,000 feet (2,100 m) runway was completed by January 1942 and the other two by April 1942. The work was requested by the United States of America for the South Pacific air ferry route and paid for as reverse Lend-Lease.[3] In 1941 American engineer Leif J. Sverdrup discussed progress on the airfields with Walter Nash, then New Zealand Minister of Finance. Nash recalled Sverdrup saying that there was no formal agreement for payment for what was called Nandi Airport by America, so on the back of one of his cards Sverdrup drew a cross representing the airfield, wrote "£250,000" (pounds) and initialled it "L.J.S." The extension was actually estimated to cost £750,000 (pounds).[4]

The airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces when the Pacific War began in 1941, as USAAF Nandi [sic]. Early in the war, B-17 Flying Fortresses were flown from Nadi against Japanese targets in the Philippines and Solomon Islands. In 1943, the 42d Bombardment Group flew B-25 Mitchells from Nadi. During this period, the U.S. Navy used the airfield as well, labeling it Naval Air Facility Nandi (NAF Nandi).

After the war ended, control of Nadi Airport was handed over to New Zealand on 20 December 1946, and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand began operations from Nadi in 1947. At independence in 1970, the Fijian government began participating in the organisation of Nadi Airport, and full control was handed over in 1979.

The first tarmac runway was constructed in 1946 at a cost of £46,500; 7,000 feet (2,100 m) by 150 feet (46 m).

Nadi Airport in 1971 showing the open-sided covered walkways between the aircraft and terminal. A Canadian Pacific Air Lines DC-8 is pictured.

Then, as now, Fiji was the crossroads of the Pacific – and in those days was even more important as a refuelling stop. The apron was shaded by palms, crotons and hibiscus trees, with whitewashed stone paths connecting it to the terminal. These have now been lost under concrete as the apron has expanded over the years, as aeroplanes larger in both number and size land at Nadi. In the 1940s and '50s, the airport's official name was Colony of Fiji: Nadi Airport, although foreign timetables continued to spell the name in phonetic English: Nandi.

Nadi was selected as the major airport for Fiji mainly due to its location on the drier west coast of Viti Levu.

During the first half of the 1960s, Nadi served as a key airport for transfer of passengers from Auckland's Whenuapai airport which could only take turboprop and piston aeroplanes, onto the new DC-8s and Boeing 707s bound for North America and Europe. At one time, New Zealand controlled the world's largest Flight Information Service (FIS), which at its largest stretched to 10,360,000 square kilometres. All of this was controlled from Nadi.

Drama came to Nadi Airport on 19 May 1987. The first coup had just occurred (14 May 1987). Prime Minister Dr Timoci Bavadra and his cabinet were under arrest, and tension continued to rise in the country. Air New Zealand Flight 24 made a scheduled stop to refuel, en route from Tokyo (Narita Airport) to Auckland. Ahmjed Ali, an aircraft refueller, used his security card to board the aeroplane and, once in the cockpit, showed the captain that he was carrying dynamite. He wanted passage out of Fiji and the release of Dr Bavadra. The passengers and cabin crew were able to disembark, while Air New Zealand negotiators in Auckland and Ali's relatives in the Nadi control tower attempted to defuse the escalating situation. Eventually, the flight engineer hit Ali over the head with a bottle of duty-free whisky, and he was handed over to the Nadi police.[5]

In 1999, Fiji Airports Limited was established by an act of Fiji's Parliament as a state-owned enterprise. Its role is to operate and administer airports in Fiji, including Nadi International.[6]

In 2013, a $130m modernisation of passenger terminal facilities at Nadi Airport was commenced by Airports Fiji Limited. Construction firms Hawkins Construction and Pacific Building Solutions were contracted for the works, while Thinc and EC Harris were engaged as asset management consultants.[7] These projects were completed in April 2017, and officially unveiled in June 2018.[8]

In 2019, Airports Fiji announced that Nadi would undergo further improvements, with plans for a new runway extending into the sea and an extension of the international terminal, as well as other projects including smart technologies, added taxiways and a new administration building, fire station and control tower.[9]

Operations[edit]

An aerial photograph of the airport from the southwest. Runway 02 is in the middle of the photo.

Arrivals and departures are much preferred to be to the south, due to the closeness of the Sabeto mountain range to the immediate north of the airport. A large turnaround area, suitable for Boeing 747s, is to the left of the threshold of Runway 02, in case meteorological factors make departure to the north necessary.

In 2008, a Qantas Airbus A380 had to make an emergency landing to disembark a sick passenger, showing that whilst not certified, the facilities at Nadi are sufficient to cater for the largest passenger aeroplane in the world. Today, the largest concentration of hotels in Fiji has grown up in and around Nadi. As tourism took off in the 1960s, the resorts under construction in the nearby Mamanuca Islands and Denarau Island cemented Nadi as the centre of Fiji's tourism industry.

Nadi is the operational base for Fiji Airways, which services six airports throughout the southwest Pacific, and many more on the Pacific Rim.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAFI) head office is at Nadi Airport.[10] Fiji Airways has its head office in the Fiji Airways Maintenance & Administration Centre at the airport.[11] In addition, Fiji Airlines Limited, operating as Fiji Link, is headquartered at the Pacific Sun office at the CAAFI compound.[12]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

International departures
AirlinesDestinations
Air New Zealand Auckland
Seasonal: Christchurch, Wellington
Air Niugini Honiara, Port Moresby
Air Vanuatu Port Vila
Aircalin Nouméa, Wallis Island
Fiji Airways Apia–Faleolo, Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Hong Kong, Honiara,[13] Honolulu, Kiritimati, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Nuku'alofa, Port Vila, San Francisco,[14] Singapore, Sydney, Tarawa, Tokyo–Narita,[15] Wellington[16]
Seasonal charter: Beijing–Capital,[17] Hangzhou,[18] Taipei–Taoyuan[19]
Fiji Link Kadavu, Labasa, Mana, Rotuma, Savusavu, Suva, Taveuni
Seasonal: Vava'u[20]
FLY CORALway[21][22] Papeete,[23] Wallis Island[24]
Hibiscus Air Pacific Harbour[25]
Jetstar Airways Sydney
Nauru Airlines Nauru
Northern Air Gau, Koro, Labasa, Laucala, Levuka, Moala, Rotuma, Savusavu, Suva, Taveuni
Pacific Island Air Malolo Lailai, Mana Island[26]
Qantas Sydney[27]
Solomon Airlines Honiara, Port Vila
Virgin Australia Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney

Incidents and Accidents[edit]

  • 19 May 1987 - whilst on the tarmac refueling, Air New Zealand Flight 24 was hijacked. After boarding the aircraft with explosives, the hijacker demanded the release of deposed Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra and 27 ministers from house arrest. Eventually, the flight crew managed to overpower the hijacker, with no injuries or deaths reported.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2018-19" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-01-06.
  2. ^ "Airports Fiji limited & Nadi International Airport & Nausori Airport & Fiji Air Traffic Management & Nadi Flight Information Region - Nadi Airport". www.airportsfiji.com. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  3. ^ "Construction Work in the Pacific" Archived 2015-04-16 at the Wayback Machine, in War Economy by J. V. T. Baker; p. 239
  4. ^ Sinclair, Keith (1977). Walter Nash. Auckland University Press/Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-647966-5.
  5. ^ "Attempted hijacking in Fiji foiled" Archived 2012-11-05 at the Wayback Machine, New Zealand History online
  6. ^ "Airports Fiji limited & Nadi International Airport & Fiji Air Traffic Management & Nadi Flight Information Region". www.airportsfiji.com. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  7. ^ "Nadi International Airport Terminal Modernisation - Airport Technology". www.airport-technology.com. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  8. ^ "FIRST LOOK: Fiji's Nadi Airport reopens after a multi-million dollar makeover". KARRYON. 2018-06-06. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  9. ^ "Nadi International Airport To Undergo $3 Billion Expansion". Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  10. ^ "Contact Details Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine." Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji. Retrieved on 13 December 2011. "Postal address Private Mail Bag NAP 0354 Nadi Airport Fiji Islands"
  11. ^ "Membership Archived 2011-12-13 at the Wayback Machine." International Air Transport Association. Retrieved on 13 December 2011. "Air Pacific Limited Air Pacific Maintenance & Administration Centre, Nasoso Road, Nadi Airport, Nadi Fiji"
  12. ^ "Contact Us." Fiji Airlines Limited. Retrieved on 3 October 2009. "Fiji Airlines Limited, trading as Fiji Link, was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Pacific Limited currently having its main base at the Pacific Sun office, CAAFI Compound, Nadi Airport, Fiji Islands." and "Head Office Pacific Sun PO Box 9270 Nadi International Airport Fiji Islands"
  13. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Fiji Airways Resumes Solomon Islands Service from Feb 2015". Archived from the original on 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-17.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Welcome to our home - Flights to Fiji - Fiji Airways". www.fijiairways.com. Archived from the original on 2018-11-08. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  16. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/64160359/New-Wellington-to-Fiji-flight-announced Archived 2014-12-15 at the Wayback Machine Dominion Post - New Wellington to Fiji flight announced
  17. ^ "Home Page - Pacific Islands Report". pidp.eastwestcenter.org. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  18. ^ "Rosie Holidays Marks Chinese New Year With Charter Flights From Hangzhou". Fiji Sun. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  19. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Fiji Airways Plans Taipei Charter in Feb 2016". Archived from the original on 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2015-12-23.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Fiji Airways Proposes Nonstop Nadi – Vava'u Service in Dec 2015/Jan 2016". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  21. ^ https://www.flycoralway.com
  22. ^ "Airbus A220 Airline Startup Fly Coral Way Eyes Impressive Route Network". January 2021.
  23. ^ "Airbus A220 Airline Startup Fly Coral Way Eyes Impressive Route Network". January 2021.
  24. ^ "Airbus A220 Airline Startup Fly Coral Way Eyes Impressive Route Network". January 2021.
  25. ^ "Hibiscus Air operates daily scheduled flights to Pacific Harbour from Nadi". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Pacific Island Air - Fiji Airplane Services - Charter Airplane Flights in Fiji Islands". www.pacificislandair.com. Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  27. ^ "QANTAS SAYS 'BULA' TO FIJI WITH DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM SYDNEY". Qantas. 21 January 2019. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  28. ^ "The crew of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747..." UPI. Retrieved 2020-11-06.

Sources[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]

Media related to Nadi International Airport at Wikimedia Commons