Fiji Airways has taken delivery of its newest Airbus A350-900XWB (A350) as part of a journey to modernize the national flag carrier’s fleet.
The airline announced on August 15, 2023, that the plane would be named the ‘Island of Beqa’.
The brand new aircraft is the third A350 to join the Fiji Airways fleet.
The airline’s managing director and CEO, Andre Viljoen, said that one of the “Game Changer” strategies that the carrier has relentlessly pursued since 2017, has been the modernization of its aircraft with ‘new generation’ planes such as the Airbus A350.
“The A350 with its superior cabin, significant fuel savings and substantial cargo capacity has fast become the pride of our airline and the joy of our passengers. The Island of Beqa is brand new having been put into storage immediately after manufacturing. We were able to negotiate a lucrative deal to acquire it,” Viljoen said.
He added: “It combines the very latest aerodynamics, new generation engines and use of lightweight materials, to bring a 25% advantage in fuel burn, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and operating costs compared to previous generation aircraft.”
The airline hopes that the new acquisition will help the carrier to reach new destinations it has not flown to before.
“Fiji Airways brings in 70 percent of all visitors to Fiji. We are crucial to the long-term sustainable growth of the tourism industry which is 45%of our GDP and the largest employer in the country. As the National Airline we recognize our role is not just to be the bridge to and from the world but to support the growth of tourism, one of the ways we can do this is by introducing new destinations with potential for high tourism opportunities,” Viljoen explained.
The A350 XWBs will allow Fiji Airways to fly much deeper into the United States (US) or Canada.
Other destinations being considered include Dallas, Seattle, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and also Noumea, Wallis, Rarotonga, Port Moresby, and several additional destinations in Australia.
“The Island of Beqa will add more capacity to our leading source markets of Australia and New Zealand, North American long-haul flights to San Francisco and Vancouver, as well as Hong Kong which is our current gateway to China,” Viljoen added.