Savusavu Fiji Airport Closing

Savusavu Airport on Vanua Levu, Fiji, will close on July 14, 2008, for four months of reconstruction work. It's scheduled to reopen on December 1, 2008. Those who have flown into Savusavu in past may have noticed that the runway is rather short, with the ocean at one end and a hill at the other. Presumably, it will be lengthened at the expense of the lagoon. There haven't been any major accidents at this airport as yet, although an Air Fiji Twin Otter swerved off the runway in 1983 and plowed into a fence. No one was injured. In 2005 the wing of a Sun Air Twin Otter hit an Air Fiji aircraft parked in front of the terminal, prompting the aviation authorities in Fiji to prohibit more than one aircraft on the ground at a time.

With tourism to Savusavu growing fast, the current upgrading was urgently required. The present terminal building is little more than a shed next to the Hibiscus Highway, three kilometers east of Savusavu town. Until the facility reopens around the end of this year, all Vanua Levu flights are to be diverted to Labasa Airport, 10 kilometers southwest of the city of Labasa on the north coast. This means that persons flying to the popular resorts around Savusavu are now looking at a two-to-three-hour ground transfer upon arrival rather than the usual 10-minute taxi ride. On the plus side, the drive from Labasa to Savusavu is one of the most scenic in Fiji and the mountain road is in excellent shape.

Personally, I rarely use Savusavu Airport when visiting Vanua Levu as the overnight ferry connection to/from Suva is good and inexpensive. You'll need to reserve a few days in advance if you want a cabin, but aircraft-style seating in the first class lounge on the ferries is usually available. I just spread my mat on the carpeted floor and go to sleep.

UPDATE: The Savusavu Airport upgrading is now complete and Air Fiji and Pacific Sun are again operating normally from there.

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