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Fiji Airways eyeing two new Australian destinations and more US routes

More Aussies may soon have direct access to Fiji’s golden shores, after Fiji Airways teased the prospect of flying to two new ports on Australia’s east coast.

More Aussies may soon have direct access to Fiji’s golden shores, after Fiji Airways teased the prospect of flying to two new ports on Australia’s east coast.

After a record year in 2023, in which the airline carried more than 2 million passengers – a 57 per cent rise on 2022 – it’s no surprise Fiji Airways is considering new ways to tap even further into its biggest market, Australia. And expanding its footprint by opening up new routes would obviously do that.

Last year, the carrier hinted at potential flights down the track to “several additional destinations in Australia”, among possible new services to Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Wallis and Rarotonga. Those extra Aussie ports have now become a little clearer.

A Fiji Airways A350-900 departing LAX.
A Fiji Airways A350-900 departing Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

“We believe there are still numerous underserved markets that are the perfect fit for our network. These include cities in Australia like Cairns and Newcastle, but also other markets like Port Moresby [Papua New Guinea] and Pago Pago [American Samoa],” Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen told Forbes.

In an update on inbound travel to Fiji at the recent MTA – Mobile Travel Agents National Conference in Nadi, attended by Karryon, Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill confirmed the airline was looking at a possible new direct route to Cairns. 

As well as growing its Australian network, Viljoen said the carrier would like to increase its North American presence – beyond its current routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. 

Fiji Airways oneworld
Fiji Airways will be a full member of the oneworld airline alliance within 12 months.

“Ideally, an open skies agreement between the US and Fiji would open up more market possibilities for Fiji Airways, especially to partner hubs like Dallas/Ft. Worth and Seattle,” he said. 

“We’re hoping to add a new long-haul destination within the next year. Network growth in North America in 2023 was up 17 per cent in comparison to 2022. We want this to continue.”

With Australia and New Zealand making up 65 per cent of Fiji Airways’ business, and half of that traffic connecting onwards – especially to North America – Viljoen said that there is “great potential… especially for markets that are not served directly, to carry connecting passengers through Fiji”. 

“This is why secondary markets can play a huge role. It is also why we want to fly to other North American destinations and develop joint ventures with our partners there,” he added.

Fiji Tourism Exchange
Fiji Airways staff at this year’s Fiji Tourism Exchange held in Nadi.

According to the FJ boss, the airline also plans to retire its three A330-200s and one leased A330-300 “in the coming years” and “will need to make a decision on what would be a suitable replacement for them”.

The airline currently operates four new A350 aircraft among its 20-plus planes.

“The A350 is a great aircraft that allows us to fly more efficiently on long-haul sectors like Los Angeles, but also works well for services to Australia and New Zealand where competitors fly 737s,” Viljoen told Forbes.

“Our larger aircraft proves popular with passengers, especially on those routes.”

Last year, Fiji’s national carrier commenced its first-ever nonstop service to Canberra. Read our review of the inaugural flight here.

Earlier this month, just weeks after reporting a record 2023 for the airline, Fiji Airways announced it will become the 15th full-member airline of the oneworld alliance, moving up from its previous status as a oneworld connect partner. 

In May, Fiji Airways also officially launched its Chef’s Table innovation, a new Fijian fine-dining experience for all travellers to savour at the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge at Nadi International Airport.