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Fiji Airways returns two planes ahead of schedule

Island of Vatulele preparing to leave Nadi. Photo:Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways has returned two A330-200 aircraft to Etihad Airways group months ahead of the end of its lease.

Fiji Airways leased the Island of Beqa (DQ-FJO) and Island of Vatulele (DQ-FJP) in 2018 to “boost the capacity in the short-term, allowing for increase in frequency and launch of new routes like Tokyo (Narita),” Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen says.

“The aircraft were invaluable to helping Fiji Airways recover schedules following disruptions caused by the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,” he continues.

However the aircraft have been parked in Nadi since March last year due to the pandemic and subsequent border closures.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we worked hard with the lessors of these aircraft to allow for an early return by a few months. This was only possible because these two A330s were short-term and nearing end of lease. Still, we’ll take every little win in our efforts to reduce fixed costs as we tide through this pandemic,” Viljoen said.

Fiji Airways will not release details of how much money the move has saved, saying leasing terms are confidential to the parties.

Fiji Airways jet fleet now consists of two A350-900, three A330-200, one A330-300, five Boeing 737 MAX, and two Boeing 737NG aircraft.

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