SUNBIZ

New Fiji Airways San Francisco Service Boosts Nadi As Hub: A-G

  Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the new Nadi-Francisco service by Fiji Airways “places Fiji in a position to be a hub in the Pacific.” Andre Viljoen, the airline’s managing director
24 Dec 2015 10:28
New Fiji Airways San Francisco Service Boosts Nadi As Hub: A-G

 

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the new Nadi-Francisco service by Fiji Airways “places Fiji in a position to be a hub in the Pacific.”

Andre Viljoen, the airline’s managing director and CEO, announced in Suva yesterday that starting in June Fiji Airways would start seasonal flights –  June, July, August, September 2016 – 2018.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new service would provide a number of feeds.

“The flight that arrives at 5am from San Francisco can connect to Sydney and Auckland and so the opportunity to use Fiji as a transit hub – to use that time to carry on with their journey or even break the journey and stay over in Fiji – that is another sector of the market that we are able to target,” he said.

He said as Mr Viljoen also highlighted there were a number of Pacific islanders who lived in the West Coast of North America, USA and Canada.

“So that particular basin captures that. That obviously means that with the direct flights from that area, you may actually now get more Fijians travelling. Those who probably don’t like having the hassle to go through LA,” he said.

“The LA airport from what I am told, although I have not been to LA airport – it is not necessarily a very friendly airport. In fact the feedback that we’ve also got is that a lot of Canadians who do want to travel directly to Fiji, prefer to fly through San Francisco as opposed to LA. The airport there is a lot more salubrious and conducive to travelers.

“We should get behind and support our national carrier.

“On a more strategic note – Fiji now connects to all the continents that rim the Pacific basin except South America – that could be something in our next new frontier and one that we may need to get into – in the long term.

“But flying to San Fransisco, LA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane, Christchurch, Wellington, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – this is the level of connectivity – this is something we have to be proud of and something that will create economic opportunities for Fiji.

“It will also mean we are creating more employment, it creates sustained employment, it creates opportunities for crew members, and as the CEO has set out as part of his agenda to get more local pilots to be trained through the systems, through Fiji Links – we are all excited about this.”

Mr Viljoen said this was an important expansion of the airline network into North America. He said starting in June “we will be flying twice a week on a Thursday and Sunday from Nadi to San Franscisco return. “As you know we fly daily to LA – one of the challenges we faced was whether we increased frequencies to LA seasonally or whether we go to a new destination. We’ve chosen the new destination because it expands our footprint and we earn US dollars. You know a lot of our costs in the business are in US dollars – so this helps us mitigate the impact of currency in the business.

“We’ve designed the Thursday and Sunday departures and arrivals so that they coincide with our partner airlines and also connect with other departing flights here in Nadi to other Pacific islands.”

He said it was well designed schedule.

“It not only serves the holiday makers in the US coming to Nadi and Fiji but it also provides a direct link for the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans who live in the San Francisco areas. So that’s also very important connectivity,” he said.

“We are also launching a special fare of FJ$1,999 return economy class for this new operation.”

Mr Viljoen said the new service would create more and bring more passengers to Nadi.

Feedback: stella.moresio@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper