Joyce Aviation Boosts Fleet

"One of its subsidiaries recently purchased a 10-seat Chieftain aircraft offer­ing fast and very comfortable charters for up to eight passengers throughout Fiji."
09 Mar 2019 15:09
Joyce Aviation Boosts Fleet
From left: Joyce Aviation Group general manager captain Paul Hilton, Joyce Aviation Group Managing Director Tim Joyce with staff Karishma Bates, Mere Niubalavu, Kini Saukuru and Patricia Tuitubou. Photo: Charles Chambers

Nadi-based Joyce Aviation is expand­ing.

One of its subsidiaries recently purchased a 10-seat Chieftain aircraft offer­ing fast and very comfortable charters for up to eight passengers throughout Fiji.

Joyce Aviation Group owners Tim and Susan Joyce bought Sunflower Aviation in 2014, following the death of the airline’s owner and local aviation pioneer, Don Collingwood.

The group started its Fijian operations in 2003, four years after the Joyce family left Sydney, Australia, in their yacht.

The Joyce Aviation Fiji Group says it is making Fiji more accessible and affordable for tourists and locals as they offer a range of flights to suit all budgets.

Sunflower Aviation also offers a wide range of specialised services such as pri­vate jet handling (FBO), aircraft storage, aircraft engineering and maintenance.

Joyce Aviation now operates a fleet of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Newly acquired GA8 AirVan

Their newly acquired GA8 AirVan is one of the most popular aircraft in the world for both scenic tours and aerial survey.

Every passenger has a window seat with visibility and can quickly be reconfig­ured between passenger, air ambulance and search and rescue roles.

One of their special tours is the Grand Ya­sawa Tour which showcases the breathtak­ing views of the Mamanucas and Yasawa Islands.

About Mr Joyce

The Joyce couple today sit in their office at Nadi Airport, looking after their four companies.

Mr Joyce himself holds pilot Air Trans­port Pilots Licences for both aeroplanes and helicopter, he is a Grade One Helicop­ter Instructor Rating and over 17,000 hours flying experience with no accidents.

He has worked in many countries includ­ing Myanmar, India, Papua New Guinea, USA, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Australia.

He has experience in tourism, VIP char­ters, aerial construction, mining support, search and rescue, border control and sur­veillance, specialist film work and peace keeping with the United Nations.

He has also set up and run a number of charter companies and two flying schools in Australia.


Pacific Flying School

The Group also operates a pilot training academy, the Pacific Fly­ing School (PFS)which has gradu­ated more than 250 commercial pilots since its inception.

These pilots who have graduated now occupy significant posts in Fiji Link and Fiji Airways as well as many regional airlines such as Air Vanuatu, Air Niugini, Air NZ and major international airlines.

“Over the last five years, the school has broadened its range of courses and capabilities in the de­velopment of local Flight Instruc­tors.

“PFS currently has five local instructors who have completed the necessary ratings through the school’s CAAF approved in-house training.

“To ensure all graduating student pilots meet international stand­ards and best practices.

“I engaged a consulting firm from Australia who established a fully computerised flight management system to monitor student training and I have also invested heavily in upgrading the school’s facilities.

“Fiji Airways had a recent intake of four new pilots and all of them were recent graduates of the Pa­cific Flying School, something the School Management and I are very proud of.

The Pacific Flying School is the only flying school in Fiji that con­ducts multi engine and instrument flying training on a multi engine aircraft with retractable undercar­riage.

This is considered essential for advancement to more complex air­craft types.

“PFS Pilot Training courses cov­er Private and Commercial pilots, Instrument Ratings and Renewals and Flight Instructor Ratings.”


Following the success of Tandem Skydive Fiji, the couple saw a gap in the market for helicopter scenic tours and created Heli-Tours Fiji.

Their R44 helicopter is the most popular helicopter type for scenic flights and tours in the world.

“It has a capacity for three pas­sengers and a 100 percent guaran­tee of a window seat.

“There was also no one in Fiji operating twin engine helicopters so in 2012 he leased a twin engine AS355 six seat helicopter for safety on the long overwater flights par­ticularly for Medivacs and clients who preferred twin engine helicop­ters for safety.

“I am continuing to develop this niche market and I have also been involved in many major filming productions.

Primary medical care and aerial emergency evacuations

Mr Joyce recognised concerns about the primary medical care and aerial emergency evacuations were major impediments to the growth of foreign investment and Tourism in Fiji.

About 10 years ago he teamed up with one of Fiji’s leading disas­ter and emergency management professionals, Anthony Blake who also saw the need to advance Search and Rescue capabilities in Fiji.

They have established a support agreement with Lifeflight Austral­ia (previously Careflight) for tech­nical and training support and in 2017 registered Lifeflight Fiji Ltd, a registered charitable trust

The vision of the Lifeflight Fiji Trust is to provide search and res­cue capability and highly subsi­dised or free transfers to citizens of Fiji who may not be able to af­ford this facility.

It’s paid for by insurance recov­eries, corporate and stake holder support, public donations and for­eign aid. The Joyce Aviation Fiji group has both helicopters and air­planes suitable equipped for medi­cal evacuations from anywhere in the Fiji Islands including Rotuma to our major hospitals.

“With 333 islands in Fiji, and a lot of open water, there is currently limited capability of supplying aerial search and rescue support or the dropping of life-rafts or supplies to persons or vessels in distress or to respond to natural disasters.

They have recently been working with the Navy on training exer­cises and specialist training of air observers and dispatchers.

In addition to the BN-2 Islander which has been fitted with long range fuel tanks and door off capa­bility to enable extended searches, the group has recently purchased the GA8 AirVan.


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