Fiji Airways started flying under its orignal name yesterday, after forty two years as Air Pacific.
Fijian artist, Makereta Matemosi has created three new symbols based on Masi art:
The first Symbol is at the centre of the tail and is referred to as the Teteva symbol. It represents the friendliness of the Fijians, their spirituality and consideration of others.
The second motif, called Rova, is ringed around the two engines, and represents the warm hospitality Fijians extend to visitors.
The last design, the Makare, surrounds the Teteva and evokes the allure of Fiji’s clear waters, white sandy beaches and the connection between Fiji’s 333 islands and the rest of the world.
Sporting the new name and logo are the airline’s three new A320-200s powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.The three aircraft will replace the airline’s 747-400s. Air Pacific originally ordered eight Boeing 787s but cancelled that order in 2011. Two of the A330s have been delivered. The first Airbus A330 was officially named “Island of Taveuni”(one of the tourist islands of Fiji). The second is called “Namuka-i-Lau” in honor of the southern region of the archipelago where the artist Matemosi is from. The third and last is scheduled to be delivered in November 2013.
The planes have two classes:
Tabua business class has 24 seats arranged in a 2-2-2 layout with a 60″ pitch. Each seat is either an aisle or a window seat. They are not completely “lie flat”. The screens in business are 15.4″. Every seat has its own USB and power outlet. On the ground, customers get their own check-in and access to lounge facilities at most Fiji Airway’s airports.
The Pacific Voyager economy class has 249 seats arranged 2-4-2. The seats have a 32″ pitch, and 17″ width. Each seat has a 10.6″ LCD screen and a USB port. Every second seat has a power outlet. Fiji Airways have opted for LED lighting which allows that lovely gentle awakening after the cabin has been asleep! All entertainment, meals and drinks in Economy are free which stands them out from their competitors at Virgin Australa and Jetstar. Faced with a choice of which Economy class from Australia, I would definitely go Air Pacific!
Fiji Airways has their own frequent flyer program. As a<a Qantas customer, I href=”http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/partners/airline/air-pacific”>can earn points and status credits.American airlines and surprisingly Alaska airlines are also partners.
Fiji’s main gateway airport Nadi (pronounced Nandee) will be revamped later in 2013. From there the carrier flies to 15 destinations in Hong Kong, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands.
Fiji airways started as Katafaga Estates on September 1st, 1951 by Australian Harold George Gatty. He is famous for inventing an aircraft navigation system that was the forerunner of the automatic pilot. He also flew with Wiley Post around the world in eight days earning himself a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Around the time of Fiji’s independence from Britain in 1970, there was a vision for the one airline to link several newly independent pacific nations. Fiji Airways took the name Air Pacific. The shareholders included seven Pacific island governments, QANTAS, Air New Zealand and British Overseas Airways Corporation (now British Airways).
The regional airline idea never flew. The other Governments sold out. Most started their own airlines, most of which in turn largely failed. The Pacific is littered with their ruins:
These withdrawals by the other governments, left the Fijian government with 51% and Qantas with 46%%). Now Qantas wants out –at a fair price. In 2012, the Civil Aviation (Ownership and Control of National Airlines) Decree from the Fijian Government required that two-thirds of Air Pacific’s directors must be Fijian citizens. Qantas, as a result, removed its four directors from the board saying that ” Fiji’s government is interfering in the management of the airline.”. The airline, meanwhile, is searching for a new CEO while it is being currently managed by one of the airline’s executives Aubrey Swift.
New colours, new planes, new leadership, potentially new ownership and a new old name. Will Air Fiji see another 62 years or will it become another Pacific airline statistic?