NADI, Fiji – Completing an 18-month journey from order to delivery, Air Pacific’s first brand new Airbus A330-200 arrived at the airline’s base of operations in Nadi, Fiji from Airbus’ facility in Toulouse, France. The aircraft represents state-of-the-art comfort, best-in-class amenities, and the strong future of Air Pacific, which is being renamed ‘Fiji Airways’ in June of 2013.
The first of three Airbus A330s ordered in October 2011 and designed exclusively for Fiji’s national carrier—a first for the airline, the new aircraft carries the new ‘Fiji Airways’ branding that is authentic, distinctive, and true to the airline’s Fijian roots. The aircraft is named after one of Fiji’s 333 beautiful islands, Taveuni, also known as ‘The Garden Island.’
“The arrival of our first new Airbus A330 carrying the new ‘Fiji Airways’ brand and Island of Taveuni name represents an exciting future that is rooted in our more than 60-year history and service to the people of Fiji as the nation’s flying ambassador,” said Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific’s Managing Director and CEO.
The aircraft’s arrival underscores the success of the airline’s turnaround plan, which started in 2010 and has culminated in reversing record losses and significantly growing passengers and revenue without increasing the size of the carrier’s fleet.
As a further vote of confidence in the future of the airline and Fiji, the financing agreement secured with KfW IPEX-Bank and Helaba for the aircraft has been guaranteed by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) of the British Government with reinsurance being provided by other European Credit Agencies (ECA’s) Coface of France and Euler Hermes of Germany.
“There are so many people we owe thanks to for their support in this journey—the government, our financial partners, our shareholders and Board, manufacturers, and many others. Without their faith in the airline’s bright future, this milestone would not be possible,” noted Pflieger. “Most importantly, we owe an enormous thanks to our nearly 900 employees whose efforts have caused our airline to be recognized among the finest in the world. They share this airplane with the people of Fiji.”
The first A330 arrived in Fiji via Hong Kong with the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on board, along with Dave Pflieger, MD & CEO, as well as other executives from Air Pacific, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Panasonic. On the ground in Fiji, The Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Mr. Nalin Patel, Chairman of Air Pacific’s Board of Directors, and hundreds of other dignitaries, business partners and other Fijians greeted the nation’s new ‘flying ambassador’ upon arrival.
Highlights of the welcome event included traditional Fijian ceremonies to appropriately welcome the nation’s first- ever brand new wide-body aircraft. The new aircraft also performed a fly-over of Fijian cities and islands prior to landing in Nadi.
Highlights of the aircraft’s features and amenities include:
•A stunning new livery, with Makareta Matemosi’s memorable Masi artwork and ‘Fiji’ proudly outlined on the sides and bottom of the fuselage.
•Dramatically new interiors, mood lighting, comfortable seats, angled lay-flat beds and a state-of-the-art, on-demand in-flight entertainment system—all inspired by Fiji’s elegant, yet earthy, beauty and striking new Masi artwork.
•Impressive, environmentally friendly Trent 772 engines from Rolls-Royce that reduce our airline’s carbon footprint by 40% over our current Boeing 747s—something particularly important to Fiji and other island nations here in the South Pacific.
The airline recently released an updated network schedule highlighting routes to be served by the new A330 aircraft, and those to Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. The arrival of new aircraft will also result in increased frequencies to Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Los Angeles throughout 2013.
While the inaugural commercial flight of the airline’s new aircraft as ‘Fiji Airways’ will not occur until June, there will be ‘sneak peek’ flights with limited amenities from Auckland – Nadi on April 2 followed by an April 4 Nadi – Hong Kong flight.
From its departure from Airbus’ manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France, Island of Taveuni stopped in Hong Kong en route to Nadi, Fiji on March 18. As part of the stop, the airline announced a partnership with the Ben Kende Foundation, a Hong Kong-based non-profit organization, and the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU), which includes Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, to carry essential sports medical supplies from Hong Kong to Fiji. The spinal boards—together with medical equipment generously donated by Event Medical Services—were carried on the aircraft from Hong Kong for delivery to FORU.
“Enhancing the quality of life of all Fijians extends beyond our flights to cities around the world and stretches to Fijian communities right here at home,” said Mr. Pflieger.
The airline’s second and third A330s are scheduled to arrive in May and November, respectively. By the end of 2013, Air Pacific will have retired its existing fleet of Boeing 747s, repainted and upgraded all of its Boeing 737s, rolled out new uniforms, and introduced a number of new customer service enhancements to reflect and elevate the new brand of ‘Fiji Airways’ which will launch in June of 2013.
As Fiji’s only national airline, the airline is focused on contributing to the country’s economic growth and well-being. The A330s will support Fiji’s economy in two ways: aiding growth in its travel and tourism industry—which is already 30% of Fiji’s GDP; and augmenting the export of Fiji’s agriculture and textile products.
“The responsibilty that comes with being the nation’s carrier is reflected by our commitment to bring greater economic benefit to Fijians by broadening tourism and trade opportunities. The new Airbus A330 is central to that commitment,” concluded Mr. Pflieger. “With this new aircraft, Fiji’s national airline is truly ‘Soaring to New Horizions’ and strengthening its goal to become the preferred airline in the South Pacific.”