Message from the managing director & CEO, Air Pacific Ltd, David H. Pflieger Jr.
Bula vinaka, and Happy Fiji Day! Before I begin, I'd also like to take a moment to recognise a few more special guests who are with us: Makereta Matemosi, our amazing masi artistâ€¦., Sashi Kiran, the director of FRIEND..., as well as our partners from Airbus, Rolls Royce, and Panasonic.
Thank you all for joining us! We couldn't think of a better way to honour Fiji Day than to share our journey to our "new horizons" with you.
As you know, our airline's transformation is well underway, with a new name (announced in May), a new identity (announced in August), and three, soon-to-arrive, brand-new A330s - due in just a few months! Well, now it's time for you to see how all of these elements will come together to allow Fiji's national airline to become the very best "Flying Ambassador" that Fiji could ever have.
As you know, we have always taken that responsibility to be "Fiji's Ambassador to the World" very seriously. And so when our journey to fix and improve our national airline began two years ago, we asked ourselves whether the name "Air Pacific" was truly the best name for Fiji's national carrier. What our research revealed was that the majority of the travelling public did not associate the name Air Pacific with Fiji.
Internet searches for "Air Pacific" do not lead to Fiji. "Air Pacific" does not differentiate our national airline from our competitors... or even, believe it or not, from an air conditioning company in China. In short, "Air Pacific" is not a name that says who we are, or who we are privileged to represent.
It was for these and many other reasons that we are going back to the name that will once again identify us as true flagbearers for Fiji... Fiji Airways!
To honour our new name, we also knew we needed a new look - an authentic look - a look that would distinguish us in the skies as well as in the world's busiest international airports. A look that was distinctly Fijian: respectful of our past; excited about our future. And that is why we are so very pleased that Makereta Matemosi, the amazing Fijian artist who designed our new Fiji Airways masi brandmark, is with us again tonight. Please join me in a round of applause for Makereta.
As you have seen, the new masi teteva that Makereta has designed for us is both rustic and modern, and it has also captured some key aspect of Fiji in the designâ€¦ the connection of the world to our islands, the goodness of our people, the way we work together, the cooperation and caring of all Fijians, and finally, our love of Fiji. So tonight it is with great enthusiasm that for the first time we are unveiling a truly amazing symbol of Fiji and an equally amazing travel experience for our passengers. This "first" will be the start of many other "firsts." When our first new airbus A330 arrives in just five months:
nit will be the first wide-body aircraft we've ever purchased;
nit will be the first, state-of-the-art airbus aircraft we've ever flown, with the first-ever highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 emission Rolls Royce engines;
nit will be the first time we've ever offered our passengers the most advanced entertainment and in-seat power systems flying the skies today; and
* most importantly, these new aircraft will be the first planes truly designed for Fiji and Fiji's national airline!
All of these firsts are important because they will help ensure our journey to "new horizons" will bring Fiji more travellers and tourists, and will create more jobs. Ultimately our "new horizons" will enhance the quality of life of all Fijians, as we help Fiji's economy strengthen and grow. And, because we want to share the success of our journey with Fijian communities and Fiji's next generations - its children - tonight, through our Wings of Hope charity, we are holding a raffle to raise funds for FRIEND (the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development).
All proceeds will support their efforts to help underprivileged children and children who were affected by the recent floods. So, if you haven't already bought a raffle ticket for a chance to win two round-trip business class tickets on our first A330 inaugural flight - (a value of almost $20,000) - there's still time! Thank you for helping Wings of Hope give hope to the children of Fiji!
Finally, the ceremony wouldn't be complete if I didn't stop to thank those who have supported Fiji's national carrier every step of the way: our Prime Minister, the AG... FNPF - who have made an investment in Fiji's future and its critical tourism industryâ€¦ our many partners in the hotel, resort, restaurant, and other industries...and of course, our Board of Directors and our terrific staffâ€¦ who are the real flagbearers of Fiji's national carrier.
Vinaka vakalevu to all of you, and we look forward to having you join us when our new airbus A330 arrives next year!