|Founded||1947 (as Air Pacific)|
|Hubs||Nadi International Airport|
|Secondary hubs||Nausori International Airport|
|Airport lounge||Tabua Lounge|
|Headquarters||Nadi International Airport
|Key people||Nalin Patel (Chairman),
Stefan Pichler (CEO)
Air Pacific Limited, trading as Fiji Airways, formerly Air Pacific, is the flag carrier airline of Fiji. It operates international and domestic services to 10 countries and 15 cities around the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, North America and Hong Kong. It is also a partner with the frequent flyer programmes of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Qantas. In May 2012, the airline announced that it would reintroduce the name Fiji Airways, changing from Air Pacific, to reinforce its role as the national airline of Fiji. Offering its customers brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, Fiji Airways connects the islands of Fiji to the world and welcomes visitors to its home. It was founded by Australian aviator Harold Gatty, a world-famous navigator, who was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City in 1931 for his round-the-world flight with Wiley Post. The company started as Katafanga Estates as it operated to Gatty's island in Fiji with the same name.
On 1st September 1951, a 7-seater De Havilland Dragon Rapide took off from the Fiji’s Nausori Airport to Drasa Airport near Lautoka, on the west coast of the main island. This first commercial flight saw the birth of what today is a truly international, Fijian airline. Together with its domestic/regional subsidiary of Pacific Sun, Fiji Airways flies over 400 flights a week to almost 15 cities in 10 countries around the world. Taking on various challenges that no airline in the global airline industry is immune from, Fiji Airways has passed various tests with flying colours, more than ably fulfilling its dual roles of flying Fiji and contributing significantly to its economy. During the eventful 60-years, Air Pacific was also about an attempt at regionalism that almost succeeded. By the early 1970s, up to seven island governments of the Pacific, some of them still under British colonial rule then, held shares in Air Pacific. This was in addition to shares held by QANTAS, New Zealand’s TEAL and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, forerunners of Air New Zealand and British Airways respectively. But the regional airline idea fizzled as other Government’s bailed out, leaving Fiji as the majority shareholders in the airline.
For a small airline, Fiji Airways has always been punching way above its weight. Early in the 1980s, it pioneered the code-share concept with Qantas. Today, code-sharing is an accepted airline practice the world over. 25 January 1995 was another watershed date for Fiji’s airline when it launched what was believed to be a trail blazing concept of joint leasing of aircraft with the then Royal Tongan Airline. The concept came complete with the livery of the two airlines painted on each half of the Boeing 737-300 fuselage.
In 1983 it started flights to the USA. In 2007, Air Pacific acquired Sun Air, a domestic airline, and renamed it as Pacific Sun, and began operations as Air Pacific's domestic and regional subsidiary.
In December 2009, Air Pacific started twice a week service to Hong Kong and in January 2014 started a third weekly service on Monday.
In July 2010 the new management team announced the start of new Suva-Auckland service and in September 2010, they announced the addition of a third weekly Hong Kong flight.
In April 2011, Air Pacific announced that, due to delivery delays of almost four years by Boeing, it had cancelled its order for eight Boeing 787-9s, and in October 2011, it announced that it had ordered three Airbus A330-200 from Airbus that are expected to be delivered in 2013. In February 2012, it was announced at the Singapore Airshow that it had ordered Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines for its new planes.
With the exception of 2001, the airline was profitable from 1995 to 2004, but it suffered back-to-back record losses of FJ$5.2 million (US$2.8 million) for fiscal year 2008/2009 and FJ$65.3 million (US$35.3 million) for 2009/2010. The chairman Nalin Patel said that the 2009/2010 loss was the toughest financial year for the company, due to high fuel costs, the impact of new low cost carrier competition, lower fares and the global financial crisis. As a result, in early 2010, a new MD/CEO, Dave Pflieger was recruited to turn the airline around and restore it to profitability. Dave Pflieger returned to the United States at the end of his contract with the airline in the third quarter of 2013. Stefan Pichler was selected as the airline's new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer and assumed his new role in September 2013.
Five Year Plan
On January 10 2014, Fiji Airways announced details of its five year plan which had received the endorsement and approval from its Board. Expanding the airline’s route network through key airline partnerships, increasing operating profits and passenger numbers, as well as growing the number of aircraft and available seats, are just some of the key focus areas for Fiji Airways within this plan.
Stefan Pichler, Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, says that this was the first time that a strategic plan for the airline was developed bottom up from the management and with input from its customers, people and stakeholders.
“This is our plan, we believe in it and we will make it happen. This is what we want to deliver by building and performing under a highly inspirational global brand – Fiji Airways!”
The airline will increase its fleet size by 25% with the purchase and/or leasing of four new aircraft, including one A330-200, two B737-800s and two ATR72-600s (one as a replacement for an ATR 42-500), by 2017.
The additional aircraft will support the company’s plans to grow the number of available seats across all markets by more than a third (35%), and an increase in passenger numbers by 39%, over the next five years.
Proposed capacity increases across the regions include Asia (144%), Pacific Islands (86.6%), New Zealand (58.9%), Australia (28.4%) and Domestic (12.3%), while the current seat availability to the US remains stable (- 4.7%).
Mr Pichler says the airline will put in place an aggressive financial performance strategy to increase operating profits above $100m (FJD), which have been planned assuming fuel prices and currency exchange rates at the current levels. “It is our aim is to be a world class boutique airline and we must match that with an ambitious but solid financial growth plan which expands on current successes and takes our airline to a new level.”
“We need to be sustainably profitable and have a healthy cash flow to pay off our debts and fund new aircraft.
Mr Pichler says becoming financially stable and re-investing in the company’s fleet is imperative for Fiji Airways’ future, but key of the future plans is also to build and maintain a strong and loyal workforce.
“As Fiji’s National Airline we have a responsibility to provide job and career opportunities for Fijians. Our already announced staff profit share programme forms an integral part of all our financial planning as well,” says Mr Pichler.
“We have plans to increase our total staff numbers by 28.5% and will invest in a trainee programme and training so we can qualify local people in roles across the company. Part of our vision for 2017 is to be the employer of choice for Fijians.”
The airline has already announced three schedule changes resulting from the plan - new direct Sydney-Suva and Apia-Suva services to open up the East Coast to holiday makers and business travellers alike; and an amendment to some Auckland – Nadi departure times to improve ferry and flight connections with the Outer Islands.
“In terms of our network expansion plans, we will not be taking a ‘trial and error’ approach. We are focused on the deliberate selection of new routes together with the best airline partnerships. Selection and timings of new routes will depend on detailed scheduling studies together with interlining and code-sharing opportunities, and we will announce these as they are finalised."
The key trends for Fiji Airways, and the Fiji Airways Group (which includes the national airline, its wholly owned subsidiary Pacific Sun, and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island), are shown below (as at year ending 31 March):
|Operating profit (FJ$m)||−91.8||−3.7||16.5|
|Statutory profit after income tax (FJ$m)||−5.2||−65.3||24.8||11.4|
|Fiji Airways Group|
|Operating profit (FJ$m)||−78.5||−4.3||13.4|
|Statutory profit after income tax (FJ$m)||−58.9||25.3||10.7|
|Number of employees||800|
|Number of passengers (m)||1.1||n/a|
|Passenger load factor (%)||n/a|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||6||6|
Rebranding as Fiji Airways
In May 2012, the airline announced that it would revert to its original name of Fiji Airways, with rebranding to coincide with the delivery of the A330 aircraft in 2013. Fiji Airways' new brandmark, a "Masi symbol that epitomises Fiji and enhances the new name of Fiji’s national carrier" was announced on August 17, 2012. The airline's new brand identity and colour scheme were fully revealed on October 10, 2012, in conjunction with Fiji Day. The official launch of the new Fiji airways brand took place on June 27, 2013. At the heart of the airline’s new name and brand is the Fiji Airways’ brandmark, a striking new Masi design, created by celebrated local Fijian Masi artist, Makereta Matemosi. The brandmark symbolises the airline’s new identity and epitomises all that Fiji Airways represents. It is authentic, distinctive, and true to the airline’s Fijian roots.
The changeover 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.
New schedule announced
From May 2014, Fiji Airways will offer twice–weekly direct flights between Suva and Sydney, operated by its B737-700 aircraft, and between Suva and Apia, operated by Pacific Sun’s soon-to-arrive ATR 72 aircraft.
The direct services between Suva and Sydney will operate on Mondays and Friday, with a convenient midday departure from Suva, and an afternoon departure from Sydney. The new schedule means a change to the Suva-Auckland services, allowing for a late evening Suva-Auckland service on Mondays and Fridays, and a morning Auckland-Nadi service on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule will improve connectivity with ferries and flights to the outer islands for passengers arriving from Auckland.
The Suva-Apia services will operate late nights on Mondays and Fridays, while the return Apia-Suva flights will operate in the mornings of Tuesday and Saturday. This will now allow Apia passengers to connect on a Fiji Airways service to Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane or Nuku’alofa (Tonga) on the same day.
The airline will introduce a new direct weekly service between Nadi and Honiara as well as a third weekly service between Suva and Funafuti.
Air Pacific has the following codeshare agreements
|Airbus A330-200||3||1||24||249||273|| |
Fiji Airways has had a wider variety of aircraft compared to other Pacific airlines. Former aircraft include the Boeing 777 (on wet lease), Boeing 767, Boeing 747, De Havilland Dragon Rapide, De Havilland Heron, Douglas DC-3, BAC One-Eleven, Hawker Siddeley HS 748, and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
|ATR 42-300||4||27/10/1986 - 11/1993||Operated by Pacific Sun|
|Boeing 737-200||1||23/11/1981 - 07/1990|
|Boeing 737-300||1||24/01/1995 - 02/06/1999|
|Boeing 737-500||1||11/06/1992 - 15/10/1999|
|Boeing 747-100||1||04/1988 - 15/11/1989|
|Boeing 747-200||8||03/1985 - 11/11/2001|
|Boeing 747-400||2||14/04/2003 - 18/11/2013||Final aircraft retired in November 2013.|
|Boeing 767-200||1||05/07/1990 - 15/12/1994|
|Boeing 767-300ER||1||16/09/1994 - 25/05/2012|
|Boeing 777-200ER||1||15/11/2012 - 10/12/2012||Wet Leased from EuroAtlantic Airways while Boeing 747s were undergoing a C check in Singapore.|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30||1||21/09/1983 - 03/01/1985|
Fiji Airways offer two types of classes on their international services: Economy and Business.
- "Media Centre - Fiji Airways". fijiairways.com. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Fiji Airways Terms and Conditions of Carriage." (Archive) Fiji Airways. Retrieved on August 2, 2013. "Air Pacific Limited including Air Pacific Limited trading as Fiji Airways and[...]"
- Creedy, Steve (March 19, 2013). "Air Pacific gets first Airbus A330 as part of its Fiji Airways rebranding". The Australian. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "Stefan Pichler leads Fiji Airways". 2013-09-06.
- "Fiji Airways' new MD Stefan Pichler sets his sights on the next five years for rebranded airline". Centre for Aviation. 2013-09-13.
- "Air Pacific Announces FY2010/2011 Financial Results". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Air Pacific Announces FY2010/2011 Financial Results". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Fiji's National Airline achieves another milestone in turnaround strategy". 14 May 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Air Pacific Announces FY2011/2012 Financial Results". 25 June 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- Gibson, Nevil (May 14, 2012). "Air Pacific reverts to original Fiji Airways name". National Business Review. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Media - Fiji Airways Official Site". Fijiairways.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Air Pacific - Our Partner
- "Air Pacific selects versatile A330 for fleet renewal and growth" Airbus.com. October 25, 2011. .
- "Planespotters.net - Historic fleet". Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Airways' 5-year plan - Fiji Times Online". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
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