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Newest Addition To The Fiji Airways Fleet – The ‘Island Of Vatulele’

Newest Addition To The Fiji Airways  Fleet – The ‘Island Of Vatulele’
From left: Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with the Vunisa Levu of Vatulele Ratu Joji Toge inside the A330 Airbus ‘Island of Vatulele’ on July 4, 2018. Photo: Charles Chambers
July 05
15:08 2018

The people of Vatulele now know that the name of their island will be showcased throughout all of Fiji Airways destinations around the world.

This was after the naming of the national airline’s sixth Airbus A330 aircraft by the Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Fiji Airways Hangar in Nadi yesterday.

Present were the Vunisa Levu of Vatulele, Ratu Joji Toge with his people, who witnessed the event and then made a tour of the aircraft.

Ratu Joji said the people of Vatulele were overjoyed at the kind gesture to name the aircraft after their island.

“We are so happy and would like to thank Fiji Airways and especially the Government for doing this as it means so much to our people.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he normally referred the naming of the aircrafts to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who was instrumental in the choosing of the name.

The Island of Vatulele becomes the second aircraft to be named after an island from the south of Viti Levu with the other being the Island of Beqa.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the naming of the aircrafts after the islands in Fiji means that these islands get a lot of footprint and exposure.

He highlighted that when this new aircraft is parked in Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland or Wellington, people would want to know about the name Vatulele and what it meant.

He said this would give the island of Vatulele a lot of exposure.

He reminded those present that they all need to be proud of our national carrier.

He said today the largest portion of our wealth or revenue comes from tourism and 90 per cent of the tourists who come to Fiji fly here.

He said it was critically important for a country like Fiji, to have a strong national carrier, otherwise Fiji would be dependent on other airlines.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government had partnered with Fiji Airways three years ago by providing $18 million a year for marketing and the airline to fly to Singapore.

He said now that Singapore was a destination, the route was doing well, that Government no longer provides that assistance even through the Budget this year.

He highlighted that Government believes in facilitating these roles – hand holding where hand holding requires to ensure longevity of the national carrier and its routes.

Fiji Airways Executive general manager Corporate Affairs Shaenaz Voss said this aircraft, registration number DQ-FJP, arrived exactly a week ago from Abu Dhabi from its previous owner – Etihad Airways.

Unlike the four owned A330s, this aircraft is not brand new.

“This is because this aircraft, along with our other aircraft named the Island of Beqa, are interim aircraft on a short-term lease of four years.

“They will give us the extra capacity we need in the short term to grow new routes like Narita, which we launched on Tuesday, and build on existing routes like Singapore and San Francisco.

“As you know, we are in the middle of an important campaign to evaluate and select our future widebody fleet.

“This decision is an important one, and one which cannot be made in a haste or in a short amount of time.”

Ms Voss said while they are older than our current fleet of A330 aircraft, they were in great condition and have full lie-flat seats in Business Class and personal In-flight entertainment screens in Economy Class.

“This is a wonderful occasion for Fiji Airways, and a great expression of our unique tradition of naming our aircraft after the islands of Fiji.

“As the flag carrier of our beautiful nation, our aim is to create as much awareness, and bring as much global attention as possible to the many unique features of our home.

“We believe that by using our largest and most visible assets emblazoned with the names of our islands, we are doing exactly that, and will do exactly that for one of our most unique islands steeped in rich stories and distinctive natural features.

“Everywhere this aircraft will fly, it will be a source of immense pride and will proudly carry the name of Vatulele.”

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