Regional services to expand
Fiji Airways – Fiji’s national carrier – introduced a new direct flight linking the country’s capital with that of Samoa’s. There had always been two flights out of Fiji for Apia in the past. However, Fiji Airways from June has announced three more flights out of Nadi and two direct flights to Suva every week. There’s also the direct flight from Apia to Honolulu covering another market that Samoa had found difficult to tap into. “We’ve had a strong connection with Samoa for years and the change is part of a plan to expand our services to the region and beyond,” says Air Fiji’s Managing Director Stephan Pichler.
“Our five year master plan highlights our commitment and underscores our desire to remain the leading network airline in the region. We are targeting growing our capacity in this region by almost 87%, and the Apia-Suva services are a key part of that plan.” Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi says this change has been long overdue. “This will avoid what’s happening now, where many have to travel to Auckland to get quicker flights to Fiji,” he says during the launch of the new services by Fiji Airways in Apia. Fiji Airways has tough competition in the form of Air New Zealand and the Virgin Samoa but Pichler thinks it has a lot to offer as well and with many Pacific islands using the Fijian route to get to other islands this can prove profitable not only for the airline but for Samoa as well.
The Fijian flag carrier a private company with the Fijian Government and QANTAS holding majority shares is seeking extra ways to earn revenue and sees the Samoa route as a way to tap into what’s available in the region but at the same time focusing on grabbing business from outside of the Pacific. “We’re delighted to be able to introduce the new and direct services between the two Pacific capitals. This will greatly benefit tertiary students studying at the university campuses in Apia and Suva, as well as the business community. It is our aim to develop Suva as a key business hub in the region, and increase travel and trade in the South Pacific.”
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