Flights of fancy / Global
Pacific fleet: Fiji Airways
The Fijian national carrier returns to its roots this year with a change of name that harks back to its pioneering days. But the airline’s fleet upgrade shows that its focus is also very much on the future.
Fiji Airways is a small airline with a big reach. With 900 employees (including domestic subsidiary Pacific Sun), the airline connects Fiji with the Pacific Rim and much of the South Pacific, serving the likes of Hong Kong, Sydney and Los Angeles. 2013 marks a reinvention for the carrier, part of a turnaround plan put into action following recent losses.
For the past 42 years the airline has flown as Air Pacific. This year’s name-change to Fiji Airways coincides with the arrival of three brand-new Airbus A330-200s which will replace its ageing 747-400s and is a return to the airline’s roots; when Tasmania-born Harold George Gatty founded the carrier in 1951, it flew as Fiji Airways for nearly 20 years.
Gone are the tired “rainbow” colours that have adorned Air Pacific tails since 1970, replaced with Fijian motifs in muted brown and white. New seating in economy and business class complements a modern look and feel that puts greater emphasis on the airline’s Fijian identity.
“When our journey to fix and improve our national airline began two years ago, we asked ourselves if the name Air Pacific was truly the best name for Fiji’s national carrier,” says CEO and managing director Dave Pflieger. “It’s a return to our original identity and aligns us closer to our home, the country we serve.”
Info: (Includes figures from Fiji Airways domestic subsidiary Pacific Sun)
Fleet: 2 Boeing 747-400s to be replaced by 3 A330-200s arriving through end 2013; 3 Boeing 737-800s; 1 Boeing 737-700. Pacific Sun: 2 ATR-42; 3 DH-6 Twin Otter.
Destinations: 300 flights a week, including destinations within Fiji and to 15 cities in 10 countries.
Market share: Fiji Airways carries 64 per cent of all visitors flying to Fiji.
In-flight entertainment (on new A330s): Panasonic ex2 system. Nine-inch monitors in economy class with audio-video on demand and USB interface. Business class gets a 15.4-inch screen.
In-flight magazine: “Fiji Islands” published six times a year. Includes airline news, staff profiles, onboard services and destination features, with much content devoted to Fiji attractions.
In-flight dining: South Pacific cuisine in both classes. Business class: three-course meal. Regional flights: a light snack.