THE arrival of brand new Airbus A330-200 wide-body aircraft next year and the launch of Fiji Airways will mark a significant milestone for tourism and herald a new and exciting chapter in air travel to and from Fiji.
Local tourism icon Tony Whitton made the comment ahead of the inaugural glimpse of aircraft livery and interior decor on Wednesday.
Mr Whitton is the owner and managing director of internationally recognised Likuliku Lagoon Resort and well known Rosie Holidays.
"The decision to purchase brand new aircraft that will be decked out and laid out in our unique Fijian decor and style is a big positive," he said.
"The Fiji experience will begin as soon as guests enter the aircraft."
Mr Whitton said the brand new Airbuses would make long-haul journeys less of an ordeal and more of an enjoyable experience, something the current fleet of ageing Boeing 747-400s are struggling to deliver.
"Nothing against the current fleet of wide-body aircraft, we have to acknowledge that they have served us well and ferried thousands of passengers annually to and from Fiji.
"However, the arrival of the brand new Airbuses will mean that we are serious about the comfort of guests to the country and we are very serious about tourism.
"Passengers doing the long haul will travel in comfort and enjoy the luxuries that brand new aircraft can offer in terms of seating and entertainment.
"And we can always count on our Fijian stewards and stewardesses to give guests to Fiji a first glimpse of our genuine warmth and world-renowned hospitality."
Air Pacific will officially become Fiji Airways in June 2013.
The first Airbus is scheduled to touchdown at Nadi International Airport in March next year, followed by the second aircraft in May and the final delivery in November.