By Anish Chand
Australia’s national airline, Qantas has made an application to fly to Fiji again.
The airline looks to start its Fiji service in 2019 if the application is approved.
Qantas is asking for 696 seats per week between Australia and Fiji from Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC).
“Effective during the Northern Summer scheduling season, commencing 31 March 2019, Qantas plans to commence services between Australia and Fiji route using B737 aircraft,” the application dated November 27 and published on the IASC website said.
A Qantas’s Boeing 737-800s has 174 seats.
The application for 696 seats a week suggests the airline is planning to operate four return flights a week between Australia and Fiji.
The Qantas application also leaves open the option for its weekly quota to be utilised where needed by Jetstar, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas.
The IASC has been asked to approve the allocation for a period of five years from the date of the determination. In accordance with section 12 of the International Air Services Commission Act 1992, the Commission has now invited other applications for capacity on the route. The closing date for making an application is 11 December 2018.
Qantas last flew to Fiji with its own aircraft in the early 2000s.
Currently, it codeshares on Fiji Airways’ nonstop flights from Nadi to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as between Sydney and Suva. The Australian carrier has owned 46 per cent of Fiji Airways since 1998.
Qantas group’s low-cost carrier unit Jetstar began serving Nadi in 2010 with Airbus A320s. The LCC currently operates nonstop between Sydney and Nadi.
The third airline with nonstop flights between Australia and Fiji alongside Fiji Airways and Jetstar is Virgin Australia, which serves Nadi from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with 737-800s.