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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Aviana is the parent company of Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited and already has a licence to provide domestic air services.
Barney Sene, CEO and president of both Aviana Airways and Inter Island Airways, said the takeover was expected to be completed within the next 45 days.
He said it would include the purchase of Fiji’s first private and commercial flying school, aircraft engineering and maintenance station, charter services and ground handling operations.
Once the deal is completed, Mr Sene said there were immediate plans to introduce US Federal Aviation Administration pilot training and a US aircraft repair station in Nadi. Discussions on the sale had started with the founder of Sunflower Aviation, the late Don Collingwood.
“Don Collingwood, a pioneer in Fiji aviation wanted to grow and expand Sunflower Aviation
and sought out a partner that shared a common vision to expand and grow the Fiji aviation and travel market”, Mr Sene said.
“Being part of the Aviana family was a perfect fit for Sunflower since both companies and
owners had common synergies and goals”.
Sunflower’s long history in domestic aviation began in the 1980s when it was hailed a pioneer in developing new airstrips and routes to support the growing tourism industry.
Operating as Sun Air, the domestic carrier was sold to Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) in 2007 and rebranded as Pacific Sun. Sunflower Aviation continued to operate the Pacific Flying School before branching out and establishing an ANR 145C Exposition Aircraft Engineering and Maintenance station.
Recently Sunflower Aviation expanded to include charter air services and ground handling
operations at Nadi International Airport.
“Sunflower is a great brand and we intend to expand this brand and its operations to support Inter Island Airways (Fiji) and other air operators in Fiji and the South Pacific”.
“We see an opportunity to expand and make Fijian pilots more marketable in the global airline industry, without incurring the large expense of going overseas to obtain a US FAA licence.This can all be done in Fiji.”