Airbus has announced that Fiji’s national carrier, Air Pacific, has ordered three A330-200s to renew and to grow its long-haul fleet.
According to the manufacturer, Air Pacific selected the Airbus A330-200 after a thorough evaluation of several different aircraft types, including the Boeing 787. The carrier has signed a firm contract to buy three new A330-200s to replace its existing long-haul fleet of two Boeing 747-400s and one Boeing 767-300ER.
Airbus says that Air Pacific ordered the three A330-200s both to renew and to grow its long-haul fleet. However, Air Pacific already operates three long-haul aircraft, so it appears possible the Fiji carrier could add to its Airbus widebody order over time, either specifying more A330s or aircraft of the Airbus A350 XWB family.
Air Pacific had by 2008 ordered eight Boeing 787s, but canceled its orders in April 2011. So the carrier’s decision to order A330s can be seen to represent another 787 order loss for Boeing because of the three-year-plus production delays the Dreamliner production program has incurred.
Nadi-based Air Pacific will receive its A330-200s in 2013 and the carrier will operate them on transpacific routes from Fiji to Los Angeles and throughout the Asia-Pacific region to Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.
“The A330 is the most versatile and fuel-efficient aircraft in its category today, and it is clearly the best aircraft for modernising our fleet, optimising our network, and ensuring future growth opportunities as we position Air Pacific to be the preferred airline in the South Pacific,” says Dave Pflieger, managing director and CEO of Air Pacific. “We are confident that our customers and visitors to Fiji will be excited about the outstanding comfort and capability of these outstanding new aircraft.”
“Outstanding reliability, fuel efficiency and low operational costs have made the aircraft a favourite with operators and customers around the world. We are delighted to welcome Air Pacific as a new Airbus customer, and we look forward to being part of their development and growth,” says John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers.
By September 30, Airbus had booked orders for 1,174 A330-family aircraft and Air Pacific’s three aircraft should increase the A330 orderbook total to 1,177.
More than 800 A330s are currently flying with more than 90 operators worldwide. In addition to passenger aircraft, the A330 family also includes freighter, VIP and military transport/tanker variants.
Air Pacific also operates three Boeing 737-800s and one Boeing 737-700 on regional Pacific routes.