Fiji Airways has announced plans to commence seasonal twice-weekly direct services from Nadi to San Francisco starting June 2016, the same time as the carrier received a new Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
The flights, operating in June, July, August, December 2016 and January 2017, will depart from Nadi International Airport to San Francisco International Airport on Thursdays and Sundays.
Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen said the new route further extended the airline’s reach in North America, with onward connections available to most US and Canadian cities.
“We’re proud to announce this new service which will give our Fiji customers a direct connection to the very popular city of San Francisco and beyond for leisure and family travel. And for our San Francisco customers, the flights will bring them to one of their favourite vacation destinations.”
Fijian Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprises and Civil Aviation, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the direct flights to San Francisco will position Fiji as the hub of the Pacific and transit hub.
“Fiji now connects to all the continents that rim the Pacific basin except South America and that obviously could be our next frontier that we could get into in the long term,” he said.
Hon Sayed-Khaiyum said that this is also a proud moment for all Fijians to unite and support our national carrier.
“Flying to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and this is the level of connectivity our national carrier provides and this is something we all need to be proud of and that will also create a lot of economic opportunities for Fiji,” Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum said.
Meanwhile, the President of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote, this week brought home Fiji Airways’ newest A330 to Fiji.
Rapturous applause and excitement greeted the aircraft as it touched down at Nadi International Airport and taxied up to the airline’s Hangar facilities. Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and other Government Ministers joined Fiji Airways staff to welcome the aircraft.
A traditional Rotuman ceremony of welcome was accorded to His Excellency the President, who stepped off the A330 as its first official guest. The aircraft has been christened ‘Island of Rotuma’, following Fiji Airways’ naming convention for its fleet after Fiji’s islands.
His Excellency the President stated: “This aircraft is more than just another addition to the fleet of our national airline. It is a symbol of a modern, progressive nation, which remains proud of its roots, culture and identity, while moving with the times to embrace the opportunities of the future.”
The new A330-300, the largest in the fleet, has 289 seats in Economy and 24 in Business Class. The new plane features enhanced mood lighting, increased cargo space and a Quiet Zone in Economy Class. Other product features and configuration match the current 200-series fleet.
It will be deployed largely on the airline’s busy long haul routes of Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
His Excellency added: “This aircraft will bring real economic opportunities for our people, because almost sixty-five percent of all visitors who travel to Fiji travel on Fiji Airways. And the more seats we have, and the better our service and overall flight experience, the more we will be able to attract more travelers. We are competing in the premier division of air travel, and we want to win.”
The A330-300 is expected to begin commercial flights in early January.