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Dreams in the air

Carriers review fleets

TWO of the Pacific’s major carriers have started a review of their fleets which could see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner winging across regional skies in the near future. Fiji Airways is expected to take delivery of the next generation Boeing 737 Max8 early next year to replace the current 737-800s and 737-700 aircraft. Last month, one of the airline’s older Boeing 737s suffered a pressurisation fault between Christmas Island and Honolulu, forcing the crew to make a rapid descent to 10,000 feet and maintain that altitude until the end of the flight.

While Fiji Airways has an impeccable safety record, the incident did highlight the age of its Boeing 737 fleet, the backbone of its regional and short-haul service using narrow-body aircraft. On longer flights Fiji’s national carrier uses three Airbus A330 aircraft which have been unable to meet the huge demand for freight on long-haul services into Hong Kong, Singapore and the West Coast of the United States. “Fiji Airways’ inability to carry too much freight out of its Nadi hub has opened the door to Air New Zealand which operates the Boeing 777 with huge cargo capacity through Nadi to Los Angeles,” an airline insider told Islands Business.

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