FIJI's flying billboard, and the country's first brand-new A330 arrives home today, March 19, 2013, escorted by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
Before touch down, the A330 will do a fly-by over certain locations in Fiji. Traditional Fijian ceremonies of welcome will take place at the airline's hanger, to be witnessed by dignitaries and industry stakeholders. The arrival of the A330 is the culmination of months of excitement.
Our first new A330 is coming home
Air Pacific (soon to be Fiji Airways) has successfully taken ownership and delivery of its first-ever brand-new wide body aircraft, the Airbus A330-200.
The aircraft is the first of three ordered by the airline in October 2011—the other two are scheduled to be delivered in May and November, respectively. The transfer of title and delivery ceremony was completed in Toulouse, France on Thursday March 14 with Airbus officials, Air Pacific executives, and Air Pacific's own aircraft delivery team.
The delivery ceremony followed the recent announcement that the airline's international European banking partners had signed the financing agreement for the first of three new A330-200 aircraft it is purchasing, with a commitment to finance the two additional aircraft due to be delivered in May and November of this year, and plans by the airline to make early repayment of some initial Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) pre-delivery financing.
"As we noted last year when we unveiled our new planes and new name, the introduction of our new A330 aircraft and re-branding of the airline are the capstone of three years of incredibly hard work by our entire team to transform and revitalise Fiji's national carrier and ensure it will be successful for another 61 years," said Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific's Managing Director and CEO.
"With the introduction of these fantastic new Fijian themed A330s, our passengers will finally be able to experience the kind of world-class comfort and state-of-the-art cabins and in-seat entertainment that we and they believe should accompany our already award-winning customer service; service that itself will only get better when we become 'Fiji Airways' in June."
In addition, and equally important, the introduction of new A330s, the most fuel efficient aircraft in their category, will also allow us to accomplish a long overdue modernisation of our fleet that will significantly reduce costs, increase revenue, and allow us to undertake even more growth in the future," he added.
Adorned with a stunning new 'Fiji Airways' authentic Fijian brand mark and design both inside and out, the new A330s will feature comfortable seats with excellent leg room and in seat power and entertainment in Pacific Voyager/economy, and TV size entertainment screens and angled lay flat beds in Tabua/Business Class.
"We are delighted that the Airbus A330 was chosen as the "canvas" on which to launch the airline's new brand 'Fiji Airways', said John Leahy, Airbus' Chief Operating Officer—Customers. The A330 offers the best operating economics and the most sumptuous cabin of any aircraft in its category and will serve Air Pacific, soon to be Fiji Airways, well in their ambitions growth plans." The aircraft now begins an approximately 18,000 kilometer journey from Airbus' manufacturing centre in Toulouse, France to Nadi, Fiji via Hong Kong. It arrives in Nadi today, March 19 at a welcome event at the airline's facilities at the Nadi International Airport.
"We've been preparing for our new Airbus A330 aircraft for almost 18 months now. Our initial cadre of pilots, engineers, and cabin crew are trained and ready to go and all of Fiji is eagerly awaiting our first owned and uniquely designed wide-body aircraft" said Mr Pflieger. The airline will re-launch as "Fiji Airways" in June this year, and the roll out of the carrier's new product and service offering including new brand, new aircraft interiors and liveries, updated business lounges, new crew uniforms, new website will continue until the end of 2013 when its last B747 is returned to its overseas owner.