|Hubs||Nadi International Airport|
|Secondary hubs||Nausori International Airport|
|Headquarters||Nadi International Airport
|Key people||Andre Viljoen (Managing Director & CEO)
Nalin Patel (Chairman)
Air Pacific Limited, trading as Fiji Airways (and formerly as Air Pacific), is the flag carrier airline of Fiji. It is based in Nadi and operates international and domestic services to 10 countries and 17 cities around the Pacific Ocean, including Oceania, the United States and Hong Kong. Fiji Airways annually transports almost two-thirds of the visitors to the country.
The first commercial flight as Fiji Airways was made in 1951 but the airline's origins date back to Katafaga Estates Ltd. formed in 1947. After being acquired by Qantas in 1958, Katafaga Estates was retooled as a regional airline and renamed Air Pacific. In May 2012, MD/CEO David Pflieger announced that as the final part of the airline’s successful turnaround, the airline would be returning to its former name of Fiji Airways to reinforce its role as the national airline of Fiji. The Fiji government owns 52% of the airline and Qantas 46%, with the governments of several Pacific island nations holding the remainder. The airline plans to replace five of its older Boeing 737s with Boeing's newest 737 MAX 8s upon delivery in 2018, at a cost of about US$110 million each. Two of the new Boeings are scheduled to arrive in 2018, and the remainder the following year. The planes are intended for Fiji Airways' regional services to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The airline was founded by Australian aviator Harold Gatty who in 1931 had been the navigator on a record-breaking round-the-world flight with Wiley Post. Gatty moved to Fiji after World War II and registered the airline in 1947 as Katafaga Estates Ltd., after the coconut estate Gatty had established on Fiji's eastern island group. Gatty renamed the airline as Fiji Airways in September 1951. The New Zealander Fred Ladd was Fiji Airways' first Chief Pilot.
After Gatty's death in 1958, Fiji Airways was acquired by Qantas. Initially, Qantas tried to create international support for a multinational, shared, regional airline. By 1966 Fiji Airways's shareholders included the governments of Tonga, Western Samoa, Nauru, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
By the early 1970s, seven Pacific island governments, some still under British rule at the time, held shares in Air Pacific, in addition to shares held by Qantas, TEAL (now Air New Zealand) and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (later merged to form British Airways). However, the regional airline idea lost support as some of the shareholding Pacific island governments sold their shares and created their own national airlines.
In the 1970s, tourism became the nation's leading industry, which made the airline even more important to the Fijian economy; and the government of Fiji acquired a controlling interest in Air Pacific in 1974. In 1981, the New York Times published an article that included details on the Fiji government's plan to buy out more shareholders in order to gain more control of Air Pacific as the national airline. However, the airline received no subsidies from the government and had to buy its own aircraft.
In the 1990s the airline relocated its headquarters from the capital city of Suva to the coastal town of Nadi where the main international airport is located. The company also constructed an elaborate aircraft maintenance center there. In 2007, Air Pacific acquired Sun Air, a domestic airline, renamed it Pacific Sun and began operations as Air Pacific's domestic and regional subsidiary. In May 2012, Managing Director & CEO Dave Pflieger announced that the airline, which was completing a successful turnaround that included restructuring and re-fleeting, would be re-branded as “Fiji Airways” to help enhance sales and marketing of the airline and the south pacific island nation. In June 2014, Pacific Sun was rebranded to Fiji Link.
Fiji Airways' first flight was on 1 September 1951, when a seven-seater de Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane departed Suva's Nausori Airport for Drasa Airport near Lautoka, on the west coast of the main island. The airline's first international flight to Brisbane, Australia was on 1 June 1973.
In 1983 it started flights to the USA with a route to Honolulu called “Project America.”
In December 2009, Air Pacific commenced a twice weekly service to Hong Kong, which was increased to three services in January 2014. In July 2010 Air Pacific announced a new Suva-Auckland service.
Today, the airline and its domestic/regional subsidiary, Fiji Link, operate over 400 flights a week to almost 15 cities in 10 countries around the world.
In the beginning Fiji Airways used small de Havilland Dragon Rapide and de Havilland Australia DHA-3 Drover aircraft. The fleet grew to include two ATR 42 turboprops and two leased jets, a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 767. By the late 1990s, the fleet included both Boeing 737 and 767 jets, while the ATR 42 turboprops were used on flights to neighboring islands.
The 2000 Fijian coup d'état devastated the country's tourism industry and overall economy, which led to a substantial decrease in travel to Fiji. Faced with a falloff in air traffic, Air Pacific returned one of its two leased Boeing 747s.
In April 2011, Air Pacific announced that it had cancelled its order of eight Boeing 787-9s due to delivery delays of almost four years by Boeing. In October 2011, Air Pacific announced that it had ordered three Airbus A330-200s.
In March 2013 the company received its first “Fiji Airways” re-branded Airbus A330. It was christened The Island of Taveuni and had its first flight to Auckland on 2 April. Today the fleet includes three Airbus A330-200s, one Airbus A330-300, four Boeing 737-800s and one Boeing 737-700. Fiji Link operates with two ATR 72-600, an ATR 42-600 and three de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.
In conjunction with Qantas, Air Pacific helped pioneer the concept of codeshare agreements in the early 1980s. Today, codesharing is an accepted airline practice the world over. In the 1990s Air Pacific signed a codeshare agreement with Canadian Airlines, allowing it to transport traffic from Toronto on to Auckland, New Zealand. Soon after it struck a codeshare deal with American Airlines. As of 2014 Fiji Airways partners with Qantas, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Solomon Airlines.
Qantas, which owned less than 20% of Air Pacific at the time, began a ten-year management contract with the airline in 1985 to help reverse the financial losses the company was struggling with. In 1986, Air Pacific posted a profit of nearly $100,000. In 1987 Qantas paid a reported $3.5 million for a 20 percent stake in Air Pacific. Qantas raised its equity from 17.45 percent to 46 percent in 1998.
On 25 January 1995 Air Pacific and the then Royal Tongan Airlines began a joint leasing of aircraft. The concept came complete with the livery of the two airlines painted on each side of the Boeing 737-300 fuselage.
Fiji Airways has a subsidiary airline Fiji Link (formerly Pacific Sun) that offers domestic flights and flights to the nearby islands of Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fiji Airways 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 be rebranding and revert to its original name of Fiji Airways, with the rebranding coinciding 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 by Managing Director & CEO Dave Pflieger on 17 August 2012. The design was created by local Fijian Masi artist, Makereta Matemosi. The airline's new brand identity and colour scheme were fully revealed by the CEO and Prime Minister of Fiji at a formal red-carpet, black-tie event in Suva on 10 October 2012, in conjunction with Fiji Day.
The rebranding to Fiji Airways officially took place on 27 June 2013. The name change aimed to associate the airline more closely with the nation and to be more visible in search results. In China, the name Air Pacific was often confused with Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific, Philippine airline Cebu Pacific and a Chinese air conditioning company. With the rebranding came a name change for the airline's booking classes. The Pacific Voyager (economy) and Tabua Class (business) of Air Pacific became the Fiji Airways' Economy and Fiji Airways' Business Class. The airline also launched a new website with the rebranding.
Ownership and structure
Fiji Airways is part of the Air Pacific Group (which includes the national airline, its wholly owned subsidiary Fiji Link, and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island). The Air Pacific Group itself is owned by the Fijian government (51%), the Australian flag-carrier Qantas (46.32%), and Air New Zealand and the governments of Kiribati, Tonga, Nauru and Samoa each hold minor stakes.
The airline was largely profitable from 1995 to 2004, but suffered back-to-back record losses of FJ$5.2 million for fiscal year 2008/2009 and FJ$65.3 million for 2009/2010. In early 2010 a new MD/CEO, Dave Pflieger, was recruited to turn the airline around and restore it to profitability. Having successfully accomplished that task and ensuring the airline was extremely well positioned for future success and increasing profitability, Pflieger returned to the United States at the end of his contract with the airline in the third quarter of 2013. Stefan Pichler was selected as the airline's new MD/CEO and assumed his role in September 2013.
The key trends for Fiji Airways, and the overall Group (including Fiji Link operations), are shown below (as at year ending 31 March until March 2013; year ending 31 December thereafter):
|Profit (before tax)(FJ$m)||−91.8||−3.7||16.5||18.0||8.3||65.2|
|Statutory profit after income tax (FJ$m)||−5.2||−65.3||24.8||11.4||14.1||8.7||55.6|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||6||6||7||7||7||9|
|Air Pacific Group|
|Profit (before tax)(FJ$m)||−78.5||−4.3||14.2||22.4||14.2||60.8||70.2|
|Profit after income tax (FJ$m)||−58.9||25.3||10.7||17.8||14.5||52.9|
|Number of employees||800||n/a||n/a||n/a||>1,000|
|Number of passengers (m)||1.1||1.2||1.2||n/a||1.2||1.3|
|Passenger load factor (%)||n/a||77||83|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||13||12|
Fiji Airways serves 24 direct-flight destinations in the Pacific Ocean region.
The Fiji Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of November 2016):
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||0||5||
Former aircraft include examples of 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. Known details include:
|Boeing 777-200ER||1||2012||2012||Wet leased from EuroAtlantic Airways.|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30||1||1983||1985|
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