FORMER Fiji citizens now residing in New Zealand were at the Auckland Airport on Tuesday, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Air Pacific A330 airbus.
And one of the first from the group to share his views after the aircraft landed was Jerry Goundar.
"It's perfect. I thought the previous aircraft did not showcase the true essence of Fiji but this one does and it is a great vehicle to promote our country," Mr Goundar said.
His son, Kevin said he thought the aircraft looked better than the current Air Pacific fleet.
"From where we stand, I think this plane is much bigger and has more room to carry more passengers."
Another former Fiji resident who drove 30 kilometres from South Auckland said he was amazed by the new mechanical bird.
"I wanted to be here especially to see it. I have been following Air Pacific's transition to become more nationally-oriented and I am very proud to see one of its promises and dreams become a reality," said Abdul Shameem.
"I, as a former Fiji resident, am very proud to see this new change and very happy for Air Pacific. This means a lot of positive changes for Fiji."
The welcoming party included Air Pacific and Air New Zealand executives and guests were treated to traditional Maori and iTaukei dances.
Air Pacific chief executive officer Dave Pflieger said choosing Auckland as the first commercial destination for the airbus was an important aspect of maintaining a strong relationship with New Zealand.
He said it reflected the commitment of Fiji's national carrier to one of its most important markets.