Fiji Airways welcomes newest A350-900 extra wide body aircraft
Record profit forecast for this year

Fiji Airways welcomes newest A350-900 extra wide body aircraft

Record profit forecast for this year

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 15/08/2023
[Image: Fiji Airways/twitter]

Fiji’s third Airbus A350-900 extra wide body aircraft named the Island of Beqa has touched down at the Nadi International Airport.

Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka officiated at the traditional welcome ceremony in Nadi earlier this afternoon.

Rabuka says Fiji Airways is looking at substantially expanding passenger and cargo capacity and wider and larger involvement in Oceania which has new importance in world affairs today.

Rabuka says with the addition of this aircraft, Fiji Airways is also sending the signal that our nation is moving forward into an era of renewal, revitalisation and an era of growth.

Rabuka says Fiji Airways is carefully considering acquiring more planes and further increasing capacity in some routes.

The Prime Minister says Fiji Airways brings more than 70 percent of visitors to our country and up to July this year, the airline has carried 978,000 return trip passengers.

He says that equates to some 489,000 visitors including from the Fijian diaspora.

Rabuka says the full target of 2023 is more than 2 million return passengers that translates to approximately 1 million visitors including those from the diaspora.

He says feasibility studies are ongoing on potential new routes and some of them connect to very large markets and all we have to do is make Fiji great and a happy place that all can look forward to come to.

Rabuka also confirmed that the total earning from tourism is expected to be $1.5 billion and a projected payment of $80 million from departure taxes can be added.

Fiji Airways CEO and Managing Director André Viljoen says the aircraft has been acquired on a 12 year operating lease.

He says the aircraft has features that delivers a 15 to 20 percent reduction in fuel burn and operation cost.

Viljoen says it offers passengers more personal space and is the quietest of any twin hold aircraft today.

The CEO says it is being designed to be eco-effecient which means lower noise and lower emmissions, in fact, 40 percent lower noise and 20 percent lower carbon dioxide emission.

He says this aircraft and another one arriving in about 10 days will provide an additional 60 seats on every flight they undertake that will add 30,000 more seats on average per month from the fourth quarter this month.

Viljoen says it also carries 20 tonnes more cargo than the previous generation aircraft, a total of 30 tonnes.

He says this will assist the country’s export further and also trade prospects.

Viljoen further says the current 2023 network that seats offered and that is sold has grown by a whopping 35 percent over 2019 pre-COVID levels and by December 2023, this is forecast to reach 40 percent.

He says their booking from August this year to July next year is 35 percent ahead of 2019.

He says they are also banking record amounts and are forecasting that by December 2023, they will reach banking of $2 billion.

Viljoen says they have even started paying COVID debts.

He has also confirmed that they have restored their profitability by October 2022 and are forecasting a record profit for this year.

He says Fiji Airways carries 70 percent of all visitors coming into Fiji and are crucial to the long term sustainability and the growth of tourism.

The CEO says this year they will spend $61 million on destination marketing Fiji, more than any operator in Fiji.

Viljoen says they added two new destinations of Vancouver and Canberra and all this growth in network together with the need to meet the current demand which has resulted in their growth of 40 percent, they needed to add new aircrafts.

He adds the new planes will service Vancouver, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Hong Kong.

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