An exotic Fijian getaway is now that much closer for Canadians with the launch of Fiji Airways commercial flights to and from Vancouver, B.C.
The inaugural flight bid farewell from the Nadi International Airport this evening, marking the commencement of the National Carrier’s newest direct international service.
Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen is encouraging Canadians to take advantage of these twice weekly flights to enjoy the world-renowned Fijian hospitality.
"Our Five-Star airline, and multi-award winning onboard experience, including meals, amenities and staff service offer the best value for money. With Canada well into winter and travellers eagerly looking for warm tropical paradise, the timing of our newest route could not be better. There is no other choice than Fiji. You don’t have to take my word for it, you will be convinced the moment you step onboard," Viljoen said.
In the lead up to tonight’s flight, more and more Canadians have been showing an interest in the new service, indicating that there is demand which Fiji Airways can tap into, the airline said in a press release.
“The inaugural return flight from Vancouver to Nadi has a seat load factor of 88 per cent - that’s huge given that we have only just entered the market. It’s also great news for our tourism industry as well. We are creating a pathway for an entirely new segment, which has seen very little traction over the years. Canada currently averages fifth on the list of monthly visitor arrivals, there is enormous untapped potential in a country that had more than 12 million residents travelling internationally in 2019,” Mr. Viljoen added.
“Now that flights have commenced, our guests will be able to experience for themselves what sets the National Carrier apart. They will see that we are committed to Working As One To Deliver Exceptional Fijian Experiences at every point of their journey. I am confident that many of them will become our champions and spread the message that Fiji Airways should be the airline of choice for Canadians visiting our shores.“
The inaugural flight to Vancouver is carrying Fijians who are travelling to a new country for the first time, and those visiting their friends and family after many years apart, Viljoen explained.
The absence of a direct flight made it "too expensive and too inconvenient" to make the 9,500 kilometre journey.
"We have brought friends and family closer, and made accessible a new country, for Fijians to explore," he said.
The new route also provides convenient onward connections between Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as seamlessly connecting other Pacific Island countries.
Moreover, travellers can take a break in Fiji before flying on to their next destination.
More capacity for cargo
Its extra widebody Airbus fleet also provide more capacity for cargo, enabling an increase in trade between Fiji and Canada, as well as other Pacific Island nations looking for new trade opportunities.
Goods that used to take up to a week to reach Canada, or from Canada to Fiji can now be transported overnight, opening up new possibilities for agricultural exports, and the import of goods that can’t be sourced locally.
The airline has also held talks with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji toe nsure that a regulatory pathway is open for our exports with BAF’s counterpart in Canada.
"We forecast every flight exporting 15 tonnes of produce including fresh and frozen vegetables such as Taro and Cassava, and frozen seafood such as fish and crabs," the airline said. "Kava is also highly sought after."
On the return leg (Vancouver to Nadi), the forecast is for 10 tonnes of imports per flight made up of seasonal fruits, vegetables and seafood such as salmon and king crabs.
"This gives everyday Fijians and our hospitality sector consistent and quick access to a wider range of world-class produce from Canada, addressing many of the supply issues that hotels and resorts have had to deal with," the airline said.
Fiji Airways will fly to and from Vancouver every Monday and Friday.