Singapore route a lucrative income earner for airliner

Na Vunisalevu na Tui Yakubu Ratu Joji Toge (left) joins Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum inside the cockpit of the Island of Vatulele. Picture: DEPTINFO

FIJI Airways’ Singapore route has proven to be a lucrative income earner for the national airline.

While speaking at the naming of the airline’s newly leased Airbus A330 DQ-FJP in Nadi yesterday, Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said since its introduction, the Asian route had become a successful route for the airline.

He said as a result, Government had stopped its marketing budget allocation of $18 million for the airline in the 2018-2019 National Budget. “Government over the past number of years has worked very closely with Fiji Airways,” he said.

“We facilitated their affirmation or reform of this company and only a number of years ago, Fiji Airways was making losses. “Now the airline is making profits more than ever before.

“We partnered about three years ago with Fiji Airways because we were quite keen for Fiji Airways to fly to Singapore.

“Then Government agreed to provide a marketing allocation of $18 million a year.

“We are glad to say that this year’s budget, we have no longer made that allocation because the Singapore route is actually doing quite well.”

Yesterday, the airline marked another milestone with the naming of its leased Airbus A330 after the “Island of Vatulele”.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the people of the Southern island should be proud of the new aircraft.

“The naming of aircraft after islands in Fiji also means that specific islands get a lot of footprint, they get a lot of exposure so when these planes are actually parked in Singapore, or LA, San Fransisco and now Tokyo or Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland or wherever the flight maybe, people will ask what Vatulele is,” he said.

“They want to know the meaning of the name and they will of course find out that it is named after an actual island in Fiji.”

The christening of Island of Vatulele brings Fiji Airways’ total Airbus A330 fleet to six