The FINANCIAL — The President of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konousi Konrote, on December 29 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, according to Fiji Airways.
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 Head of State also explained the significance of naming the aircraft after Rotuma: “By christening this Airbus after their [Rotumans’] island, we are honouring their contribution to our country…. I am sure that all Fijians of Rotuman descent will join the rest of the country in sharing their pride every time they see this aircraft.”
The A330-300 is expected to begin commercial flights in early January.