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Fiji Airways Soon To Annnounce Billion Dollar Investment

Fiji Airways Soon To Annnounce Billion Dollar Investment
Captain Jimilai Baledrokadroka with Fiji Airways managing director/chief executive officer Andre Viljoen and staff cut the cake outside the new aircraft in Nadi on January 4, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
January 05
11:14 2019

 

Fiji Airways will soon announce the purchase of their first wide-bodied aircraft in what the airline’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Andre Viljoen described as a billion dollar investment.

This was apart from the arrival of three more Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which will be arriving this year in July, August and November.

Mr Viljoen made the announcement while welcoming the airline’s fully owned second Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, named the Island of Gau in Nadi yesterday.

“Soon, we will also announce the much-awaited decision for our future wide-body aircraft.”

“I know this is something everyone is eagerly anticipating but we are taking our time because we need to get it right.”

“It will be a billion-dollar investment and we need a solution that makes financial sense for us at the present time, while satisfying our future growth requirements.”

The airline’s Fiji Aviation Academy in Namaka would also be opened towards the latter part of the year.

“That in itself is a $100 million-dollar investment,” he said, adding the academy would be the first of its kind in the South Pacific and offer world class aviation training.

In the first phase, it will offer Full FlightSimulator training on the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 737 MAX simulators.

Another aircraft simulator type would be revealed once the announcement for the wide-body aircraft was made.

Mr Viljoen said the company could also see a new stream of revenue with other airlines wanting to use their facilities at Nadi Airport which would also mean foreign exchange for the country.

The aircraft was formerly handed over to Fiji Airways in Seattle in the United States where sevens icon Waisale Serevi, who was also from Gau was present with his family.

A special team from CAAF was also present during the flight back to carry out the necessary inspections certification processes.

The Island of Kadavu has been flying since mid-December and Mr Viljoen said the feedback had been overwhelmingly positive.

“Everyone from the operating crew to the customers is delighted with the aircraft, its features and amenities.”

“Our pilots report extremely efficient fuel burn on this aircraft, which is good for us not only in terms of cost, but good for the environment as well given its reduced carbon footprint.”

All five MAX 8 aircraft have 8 Business Class and 162 Economy Class seats, with the exact same specifications and features throughout.

Fiji Airways has an attractive tripartite package deal with Boeing, leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and engine manufacturer CFM International for our five Boeing 737 MAX 8s which includes a 12-year Sale and Leaseback financing arrangement.

This Island of GAU will replace one of the airline’s existing Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft of the same name.

The aircraft will undergo our usual final customisation and familiarisation process at the hangar facility under the care of Fiji Airways’ Engineering and Flight Operations Teams.

It will undertake its first commercial flight on January 24th, operating from Nadi to Sydney as FJ917.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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you said it
"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend
January 2019
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