How We Got Such A Great Airliner

Managing Director and CEO Fiji Airways, speaking at yesterday’s arrival at Nadi INTERNATIONAL Airport of the airline’s first Airbus A350-900 XWB
24 Nov 2019 11:26
How We Got Such A Great Airliner
Andre Viljoen

Bula and Welcome to Our Home.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a lot to be proud of today ….. Fiji Airways, is the first airline in the Australia-Pacific Region to be operating the world’s most advanced ‘new generation’ commercial aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body).

The following are some of the features that makes the A350 the most advanced commercial aircraft operating today (compared to our current classic A330 aircraft):

The A350’s High Performance:

With its latest generation Rolls-Royce XWB engines, this aircraft flies 30 minutes faster from Nadi to Los Angeles;

It carries 20 tonnes more cargo with a full load of passengers from Nadi to Los Angeles:

Its flying range is 16-17 hours.

The A350’s Improved Economics:

With its latest generation engines, cutting-edge carbon fibre composite materials used, and optimised aerodynamic design –  it will use 25 per cent less fuel from Nadi to Los Angeles;

Its lower maintenance requirements and its e-based monitoring and diagnostic programs are ideal for optimising and controlling operating costs.

The A350’s Best in Cabin Comfort and Technology:

The Island of Viti Levu boasts 33 direct-isle access, full lie flat, Super Diamond Business class seating;

It has 301 Ricaro CL3710 Economy seats of which 39 are designated Bula Space seats with extremely generous 34 inch of seat pitch…..Ladies and Gentlemen ’our economy class just got bigger’;

Overall, this aircraft has a more spacious cabin – 5.6 meters wide resulting in more leg room, and the largest overhead luggage bins in the market;

Guests will enjoy panoramic views of our beautiful country on take-off and landing, thanks to upgraded windows which are 30 per cent larger;

It has improved air pressure system for better air quality thanks to composite fuselage, and quieter cabin:

Interestingly, the air in the entire cabin is renewed every two to three minutes.

What this means for our passengers – they would be less prone to fatigue….they arrive feeling a lot fresher;

There is Full LED ambient lighting – 16.7 million different colours for dynamic lighting scenarios.

The Latest generation Thales HD individual touchscreen entertainment – 17” in Business and 12” in Economy;

Wifi/Internet connectivity on board;

Built in (overhead) Pilot and Cabin Crew rest – two bunks for pilots and eight for Cabin Crew

The A350 is Environmentally Friendly:

Its optimised aerodynamic design incorporating the largest carbon fibre wingspan of 32 metres, a landing gear made primarily from titanium, together with the reduced fuel usage of the Rolls-Royce XWB engines – makes a huge contribution towards our sustainable development commitments:

CO2 emissions are 25 per cent lower;

Noise footprint is 40 per cent lower.

The A350’s Journey Home

Our new A350 has just completed a journey of 23,000 kilometres.

It stopped ‘along the way’ in Dubai at the Dubai Airshow and was the centerpiece exhibit at the Airbus Display.

In fact, our A350 with its stunning Fiji Airways livery ‘stood out’ among the 165-aircraft stationed at the display area. Visitors to our A350 learnt all about the messaging and spirit contained in our beautiful masi motives on the engine cowlings and body leading up to the Teteva on the Tail.

In our opinion it is the most beautiful A350 flying today. Fiji was on everyone’s mind at the Dubai Airshow.

This exclusive exhibition had over 90,000 people in attendance. Hundreds and hundreds of them came onboard to explore The ‘Island of Veti Levu’, and admire the simple elegance of our world-class Business Class cabin, and the generous space in our refreshed and vibrant Economy Cabin.

Among those who stepped onboard were Middle Eastern Government and Military dignitaries, aviation suppliers, contractors, leasing companies, and aviation media.

Even CEOs and Senior Officials of airlines like Air France, Emirates, Etihad, Air Senegal, Turkish, Spice Jet, British Airways and many others visited our aircraft. They were all very impressed and complementary of the quality and elegance of our unique product.

In fact, the CEO of Emirates walked through our aircraft an hour before placing an order for 50 A350-900s just like ours.

After Dubai, we had the opportunity to show case the A350 to our Trade Partners in Brisbane and Sydney.

Once again the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are proud of the way our partners have re-committed to getting more and more guests to fly us.

Ladies and Gentlemen with the A350, we are on par with the best in the world. The A350 is our Crown Jewel and a Game Changer for Fiji Airways and Country Fiji.

We are proud, and humble, about the leading role we play in aviation in the Australia-Pacific region.

We take bold steps, and accept any challenge that comes our way.

This aircraft is yet another example of Fiji Airways commitment to our country and our customers.

The A350’s Flying Schedule

We are excited to have the aircraft go into commercial service from 1st of December flying its inaugural flight from Sydney to Nadi, and thereafter throughout December to other Australian ports, as well as to Auckland.

Our second A350 XWB will be delivered in mid-December.

From 1st January 2020 both our A350s will fly daily to/from Los Angeles and to/from Sydney.

The A350 Selection process

Fiji Airways followed an extensive and thorough process (close to 2 years considering a wide range of options) that resulted in the selection of the A350.

Our target was to select a new generation aircraft that would not only enhance the onboard customer experience, but would also meet our mission requirements with superior fuel and operating economics.…and of course with an exceptional financial/acquisition deal.

The A350 was our clear choice.

We are extremely pleased to have concluded another landmark deal for Fiji Airways and country Fiji for our 2 A350-900 XWBs….after extensive evaluations and transparent, robust, and rigorous negotiations between ourselves and Airbus, Rolls Royce and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE Capital) the Lessor. Throughout the process SkyWorks, leading aviation specialists, used their proprietary tools to assist us with all our analyses and evaluations.

The A350’s Additional Benefits

Fiji Airways is now a Skytrax 4-Star airline. We also boast the Best Airline Staff in the Australia-Pacific region, and rank in the Top 20 Best Cabin Crew in the world, well ahead of larger airlines operating in our region.

Adding our two spectacular A350s will enhance our efforts further, to achieve our Service Vision…to MAKE EVERY MOMENT BETTER for our guests.

In addition, as mentioned in its special features earlier the A350s will help Fiji Airways reduce its carbon footprint, which is very important support for Country Fiji’s war against the challenges and destruction caused by climate change.

Additionally, the long-haul capabilities of the aircraft strengthens our Los Angeles route and allows us to consider possible further destinations deeper into USA.

Ladies and Gentlemen….in summary, the ‘Island of Viti Levu’ represents more than just the addition of another aircraft type to our fleet:

It represents a future full of opportunities;

Our commitment to service quality;

and a more luxurious flight experience for our customers/guests.

Today, I share the pride of every Fijian!

Every Fijian who followed the progress of our Airbus A350-900 XWB named ‘The Island of Viti Levu’, from the time it entered the production line at Airbus in Toulouse….until its arrival a short while ago here at Nadi airport.

Thank You’s and Celebrate


To Marie-Frederique Romain, Paul Tuck and the team at Airbus, I’d like to thank you for a great deal.

In addition, a special thank you for the Airbus team who worked tirelessly to support our expedited Entry Into Service Program. We have had nothing but the best of support from all your teams. For this, I’d like to say VINAKA.


To Chris Davie, Thijs Medeima and the Rolls-Royce team, thank you as we proudly continue and grow our already strong partnership. Our engineering team are eagerly waiting to support the XWB engine/power plant that some are already calling ‘The Beast’.

DAE Capital

To Ms Kate Patterson and the DAE Capital team; thank you for the professional and constructive manner with which all our leasing negotiations were conducted. We look forward to growing this partnership further.


We also have a team here from Thales, our inflight entertainment systems provider. The large 17” screens in Business Class, and the 12” screens in Economy class are indeed special. They contribute immensely to the enhanced customer experience on the A350s.


A special mention to the team from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, our Regulator, who have working with us for months to get all the relevant approvals and assessments done. We are very proud of our strong partnership and our objectives about Operational Safety are the same.

Rajesh Punja and FJ Board

To Rajesh Punja, our Chairman and FJ Board, thank you for all the support and guidance. Most importantly for your immense patience throughout the selection journey, where we explored many many options….Option A, B, C, D and we got close to Z!!!

Honourable AG

We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the Honourable Attorney General, who, at our invitation, took time from his very busy schedule to travel to Toulouse to officiate the Delivery Ceremony for this aircraft.

His presence elevated the significance of the event in Toulouse even further. It was a sign of Fiji’s commitment to world-class aviation standards and innovation, and this was very well received by all our partners from Europe.

Honourable Prime Minister

To our Chief Guest, the Honourable Prime Minister. Sir, your National Airline would like to say VINAKA VAKA LEVU! ….. for making this ‘game changer’ Airbus A350 acquisition for Fiji Airways possible.

A big thank you for your acceptance of our humble invitation to be Chief Guest at today’s celebration.

And for being personally onboard to bring the Island of Viti Levu’ Home.

Fijian Public

A special thank you to every single Fijian. It is through your support that we are able to soar to greater heights.

We are proud to be your National Airline. You have the gratitude and commitment of all of us at Fiji Airways.

FJ Team

I would like to use this moment to thank each of every staff member of our FJ Group for their commitment and dedication which has made it possible for us to achieve the progress we have made as an airline.

We compete in the most challenging industry in the world, but we have faced this with typical Fijian determination, humility and spirit.

The acquisition of our A350s has been a great team effort. We have truly Worked As One.

Vinaka Vaka levu.

Please remember to MAKE EVERY MOMENT BETTER.


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