“Last year … culminated in the largest profit the airline has ever recorded … in a year when we had the most devastating cyclone in our nation’s history slow down tourism and [we launched] three new international routes,” Fiji Airways MD and CEO Andre Viljoen said. “The result would not have been possible without the backing of the Fijian government and the Fijian people.”
In 2016, the airline launched new routes between Fiji’s Nadi International Airport and San Francisco, Singapore, and Vava’u, Tonga. The airline group, which includes national carrier Fiji Airways and domestic subsidiary Fiji Link, carried 1.4 million passengers in 2016, up 7.7% over 2015.
“The financial results and other accomplishments also show what government and state-owned entities can do together when government has a strong and focused vision and established a proper operating environment, and then lets management do what it is supposed to do as a commercial entity,” Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.
The airline said yields were under pressure throughout the year, attributable to increased capacity of competitors, combined with airfare discounts offered by competitors taking advantage of low fuel prices. A tropical cyclone hit the island in February 2016, to which Fiji Airways responded by slashing its airfares, causing the company over FJD40 million in lost revenue.
“However, these actions by Fiji Airways are largely responsible for Fiji’s tourism growth of 5% experienced in 2016,” the company said.
“2017 will be another busy year … targeting many further service improvements … [and] increasing our focus on Singapore with a dedicated new sales team in place and a codeshare partnership with Jet Airways to target more Indian travelers,” Viljoen said.
In 2017, the airline plans to open a new route between Nadi and Adelaide, Australia in June. Additionally, the airline will extend its Nadi-San Francisco route to year-round service.
(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)