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ANALYSIS: Singapore, China For Fiji Airways?

Watch for Singapore and China (ideally Beijing) to be the likely new destinations as Fiji Airways continues to grow. Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has announced that Fiji
26 Aug 2015 09:57
ANALYSIS: Singapore, China For Fiji Airways?
New routes, new chief, better and record profits seem to be the beginning.

Watch for Singapore and China (ideally Beijing) to be the likely new destinations as Fiji Airways continues to grow.

Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has announced that Fiji Airways is now looking at two new destinations.

He says these will be announced very soon, likely after proper regulatory processes are put in place and airport slots obtained.

Singapore obviously would be an ideal route giving the much-needed quicker connectivity needed with India (of course codeshare agreements may need to be signed).

Ties between Fiji and Singapore are also strengthening.

Then there is Beijing. This seems to be the best option given this is a bigger and better catchment when compared with the other two options in China.

Guangzhou would not make much practical and business sense given it is only about an hour away from Hong Kong.

And Fiji Airways already flies to Hong Kong currently three times a week and which is understood to the one of the best yield routes because of the load factor.

In fact, it is understood the national airline is considering to increase the frequency of flights to Hong Kong to at least four times a week or even five.

The new routes are not expected to begin until next year, possibly April.

 

New chief

Meanwhile, the airline’s new chief executive and managing director, Andre Viljoen, is expected to join the airline from October 1.

He is currently the head of Air Mauritius and has 33 years of professional experience in the airline and tourism industries.

He has not only transformed Air Mauritius but also restored it to profitability and attained the coveted Skytrax 4-star rating for product and service.

Over the years, he has built good international relations which would naturally be of great benefit to our national airline, especially on the new routes talks.

Also, it would not make commercial sense to take such a major decision on the new routes without Mr Viljoen being here.

After all, he will be the one in-charge of taking our national airline to greater heights of success.

 

Charters

It is also understood discussions are underway on having charter flights to certain destinations during peak periods.

This year Rosie Holidays organised Fiji Airways charter flights from mainland China for the first time and this proved to be a big success.

And if our sources are correct, the numbers are expected to be even bigger come February next year going up to nine chartered flights compared two this year.

These flights during the off-peak season in our tourism industry contributes greatly towards the growth of the industry.

It is also understood Vancouver in Canada and San Francisco in USA are also on the radar for charter flights during peak period.

 

Financial performance

Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the airline is performing exceptionally well.

It is understood the national airline is forecast to do 10 per cent better than the past year.

Figures released the past week on its half-yearly performance is a good indication of this.

And if all goes well, Fiji Airways as well as domestic subsidiary Fiji Link seem to be on track for yet another record profit.

 

In totality

The options seems many for Fiji Airways and our Government. But sound and commercial decisions will need to be taken.

Initially, there might be a likelihood of some money being lost on the new routes, as is understood to have been the case with Hong Kong.

In a long run they would surely prove to be beneficial to both the nation and our national carrier.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj



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