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$100m target

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, January 11, 2014

FIJI'S national airline has embarked on a five-year mission to increase its underlying operating profits by about $100million.

And according to Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Stefan Pichler, this was subject to fuel prices and currency exchange rates at present levels.

He said the aggressive financial performance strategy coupled with expanding airline route networks, increasing passenger numbers, workers and fleet, were key focus areas for the airline during this period.

"We need to be sustainably profitable and have a healthy cash flow to pay off our debts and fund new aircraft," he said while revealing the airline's five-year strategic plan in Suva yesterday.

"Becoming financially stable and reinvesting in the company's fleet is imperative for Fiji Airways' future but key of the future plan is also to build and maintain a strong and loyal workforce.

"Totally underlying operating profit for the past three financial years was impacted by business transformation."

He said the operating activities planned would generate strong positive cash flows to fund needed investments.

This, he said, was a huge step for the airline and achieving this would enable Fiji Airways to self-fund future investments and pay off its debts.

"The airline will increase its fleet size by 25 per cent with the purchase or leasing of four new aircraft including one A330-200, two B737-800s and two ATR72-600s — one as a replacement for an ATR 42-500 — by 2017," Mr Pichler said.

"We have plans to increase our total staff numbers by 28.5 per cent and will invest in a trainee program and training so we can qualify local people in roles across the company."

He said Fiji Airways had the responsibility of providing job and career opportunities for Fijians.

Fiji Airways - Proposed capacity increases across the regions:

* Asia - 144 per cent;

* Pacific Islands - 86.6 per cent;

* New Zealand - 58.9 per cent;

* Australia - 28.4 per cent;

* Domestic - 12.3 per cent; and

* US - negative 4.7 per cent.

* Airline targets ticket sales, market expansion — Page 15

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