Fiji Airways welcomed fully-vaccinated tourists onboard for the first time in 20 months last week (Dec 1), with the first Aussie tourists touching down in Fiji on one of the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft.

Fiji Airways now operates 14 flights a week from Sydney (twice a day) to one of the highest-vaccinated tourist destinations in the world, utilising the airline’s new state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 and energy-efficient Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Daily flights from Melbourne have also launched, with the first Victorians departing at 11.55pm on Dec 1 and waking up in the beautiful 333 islands of Fiji on the morning of 2nd December.

According to the carrier, daily Brisbane flights will commence once Queensland allows holidaying Australians to return to the state without hotel quarantine.

“Today is a very special day as we welcome back our Aussie friends after 20 long months,” said Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen, when he welcomed the first flight from Sydney.

“We have been working hard since March last year to prepare for this moment and ensure our guests have the safest and most enjoyable travel experience possible.

“We have incorporated an award-winning new Travel Ready safety programme, new in-flight entertainment for travellers of all ages and new seat selection options to enhance comfort for long-haul and mid-haul flights.

“The safety of our customers and staff will always be our highest priority. Our entire workforce is fully vaccinated, our new Travel Ready programme is dedicated to medical safety and wellness, and Fiji Airways is the only airline in the Australia-Pacific region to achieve a Skytrax 5-Star COVID Safety rating as well as the highest Hospital Grade “Diamond” certification by APEX Health and Safety.

“A key part of our Travel Ready programme is having medically-qualified Customer Wellness Champions for medical guidance and assistance onboard every international flight, making us the only airline in the Australasia-Pacific region to do so. This is how seriously we take the wellbeing of our customers and staff,” Viljoen said.

He said Fiji Airways has utilised this time to launch a suite of new products and benefits to enhance the customer experience for its guests from now, including increased baggage allowance from 23kg to 30kg for economy class passengers on all international flights.

For selected long-haul and medium-haul flights, he said economy class passengers will be able to purchase the ‘My Island’ sleeper product to stretch out and relax over an entire row.

The new My Island option includes extra amenities made up of a business class size pillow, mattress topper, additional blanket and an extension seat belt to help foster the best possible sleep in economy class.

Onboard dining has also been given a re-haul with the appointment of renowned Fijian-New Zealand Chef Richard Cross to oversee all catering functions across the airline, including its award-winning Fiji Airways Premier Lounge at Nadi International Airport.

Along with it, Fiji Airways has introduced a specially selected suite of highly-rated wines, including America’s number one luxury cabernet sauvignon varietal from Justin Wines. The new onboard wine range comes from renowned wine regions of Australia, New Zealand, France and America.

Fiji Airways has also focused on new ways to entertain its younger passengers onboard with the launch of Our Ocean, Our Life. The complimentary in-flight activity pack and book series, for passengers aged 2-12 years old, is dedicated to educating the future generation on the importance of preserving and protecting Fiji’s fragile marine environment, in a fun and engaging way.

For a discounted rate when booking holidays directly with the carrier, families can experience Fiji Airways’ world-class Premier Lounge in Nadi with a buffet/a la carte dining, cafe, bar, wifi, shower facilities and comfortable seating.

Fiji’s national carrier has been preparing its fully vaccinated crew for the resumption of flights at the new state-of-the-art Fiji Airways Aviation Academy, the first of its kind in the South Pacific islands.

“We have been able to provide our pilots, engineers and flight attendants with the best possible training to prepare them for this day and a busy season ahead using the Fiji Airways Aviation Academy (FJAA), our new fully integrated training centre in Nadi with two full flight simulators,” Viljoen said.

Over 90% of the adult population in Fiji are fully vaccinated and travellers entering Fiji must be fully vaccinated and produce evidence of a negative RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure.

Entry conditions into Fiji include a pre-booked itinerary with Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) approved accommodation and transfers for the first three nights, proof of travel insurance that will cover covid-19 related medical expenses, and a rapid Antigen Test 48 hours after arrival in Fiji at the resort.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management