Yea — this is not to shabby. Photo by Jason Rabinowitz / AirlineReporter.com
Recently, I embarked on a journey to Fiji to experience Fiji Airways’ brand new Airbus A330. Thankfully, once I got to Fiji I didn’t just turn around and go home, I got to experience Fiji for several days, and I had an absolute blast. Over four days, I stayed at several high end resorts, experienced some amazing adventures, and threw in some #AvGeek awesomeness along the way.
Upon arriving in Fiji on the brand new A330, the tour company Rosie Holidays shuttled us to our first destination, the Radisson Blu Resort on Denarau Island, about a 40 minute drive from the airport. We were only spending one night at the Radisson, but I was quite impressed with the property. The rooms were fairly large, and free (but slow) wifi was available everywhere. The highlight of our stay at the Radisson Blu came in the form of dinner in one of their pools — yes in. The tables and chairs were in water about 3 feet deep [see photo below], creating a very cool and unique atmosphere.
Flying only 900 feet above Fiji was not too shabby.
A media flight is always a special event, but there are a few things that can make it even more special. So how special is a media flight that also happens to be a delivery flight flown by two Airbus “expert pilots” who preformed a 2 hour low altitude fly by with the airline CEO on board as well as the artist responsible for the airlines brand new image? Yea, that is special. What else could Air Pacific, soon to be Fiji Airways, possibly have added to this flight to make it more special? I can’t think of anything. This is the story of a small airline that made a big impression.
Air Pacific is re-branding in a big way, which I detailed in a review of their new Airbus A330. To help promote these big changes, Fiji Airways in cooperation with Tourism Fiji invited a small handful of travel bloggers and journalists, as well as one #AvGeek (me), to fly out to Fiji and witness the delivery ceremonies of their second new Airbus A330.
The tiny Pacific island of Fiji has a national airline just as tiny. Air Pacific, however, dreams big and their dream just came true. In just a few short days, the Air Pacific name will be retired, ushering in the era of Fiji Airways, and more importantly, a new fleet.
After a time of financial difficulty, Air Pacific has rebounded to profitability, and decided it was time to replace their aging 747-400 long-haul fleet. Initially ordering and later cancelling a fleet of eight Boeing 787s, Air Pacific ordered three Airbus A330-200s in late 2011, the second of which was delivered last week. These airplanes represent everything that is new about the tiny airline, inside and out.
Fiji Airways first Airbus A330. Image from Fiji Airways.
I love a good story on an airline’s name change, an updated livery or taking delivery of a new aircraft type. What can I say about one story that incorporates all three? That is what you get with Air Pacific changing their name (and livery) to Fiji Airways and taking delivery of their first Airbus A330.
The aircraft, named Island of Taveuni, was delivered from Toulouse France via Hong Kong to Nadi, Fiji. The A330 will be used to replace the older Boeing 747-400’s operated by Air Pacific. The new plane will offer 40% less CO2 emissions, which also means a reduction in fuel costs. The plane is configured with 24 business and 249 economy class seats.
BONUS: Check out our story on Fiji Airways from October 2012
Although the airline has already taken delivery of their new plane with the new name on the side, the official name change won’t happen and the aircraft won’t enter full service until June 2013.
Fiji Airways Airbus A330 receives a water cannon salute. Photo from Fiji Airways.
Fiji Airways expects to take delivery of their second A330 in May and the third in November. They will retire their 747-400s and update their 737s with the new brand by the end of 2013.
“The arrival of our first new Airbus A330 carrying the new ‘Fiji Airways’ brand and Island of Taveuni name represents an exciting future that is rooted in our more than 60-year history and service to the people of Fiji as the nation’s flying ambassador,” said Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific’s Managing Director and CEO.
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|This story written by… David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder. David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.|
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