Thursday, September 11, 2008


AN opportunity that came Isimeli Qaranivalu's way back in high school was one he has not regretted taking on. He said in his final year at Lelean Memorial School in Davuilevu, there was an advertisement in The Fiji Times for apprentices.

But at the same time Mr Qaranivalu had also gotten his acceptance letter from the Fiji School Medicine. He hails from Koro, Lomaiviti and is married with four sons.

"I guess as fate had it I went with Qantas," the 58-year old said.
"I was still at school when I was picked by Qantas to attend their aircraft engineering training school.

"I started with Qantas from 1968 where I did my training in Sydney in 1971. Over the years I became the first local engineering supervisor with Qantas. "That was to look after aircraft maintenance at Nadi airport."

From there Mr Qaranivalu said after Qantas had left he stayed on with Air Terminal Services back in 1981. He was then promoted to Quality Assurance Manager in 1988 before taking on his current position as technical services manager.

He said with senior positions came responsibilities where he and his crew would look after the technical aspects of ATS especially maintenance on aircraft, infrastructure and all procurement supplies for ATS except food supplies.

"I was also the first licensed local for boeing 747," he said. "I am very happy to be with ATS since its inception in 1981 till now. "As time draws near for me to finish my career I am very thankful to ATS and Qantas for giving me a very good opportunity to make use of my life.

Mr Qaranivalu said the aviation industry has come a long way where everything has become hi-tech. He said during the days of the propeller planes, they would change cables and wires.

"From the propeller engine aircraft when I first started they have now gone to hi technology airplanes," he said. "The world of aviation is changing. We are preparing our people and have prepared our people.

"I am glad that I have been able to play a role in the aviation industry through ATS. "I have a good team that I work with and the support from the local people."

Besides being involved in his work, Mr Qaranivalu also works closely with the church and the Lelean Old Scholars Association.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online.