Air Pacific, Fiji’s national carrier, is to re-brand itself and return to its former name of Fiji Airways as one initiative among several which form part of a complete review and restructuring of the airline.
The carrier plans to unveil its new branding and logo in early July; and then to release images of its new livery and aircraft interiors in October, in conjunction with Fiji Day.
According to Air Pacific, the review and restructuring have seen the flag carrier reverse its losses, improve its schedules and network, and make significant investments in new aircraft and its in-flight service product.
After posting an improved operating performance in its FY 2010/11 – an operating loss of FJD3.6 million (US$1.9 million) compared to FJD91.8 million (US$48.1 million) in FY2009/10 – the additional changes at Air Pacific are part of the final phase of activities designed to return the airline to sustainable profitability.
Fiji Airways was the airline’s name between 1958 and 1970. The name was changed to ‘Air Pacific’ in 1970 to reflect the carrier’s greatly expanded regional presence. According to Air Pacific, the re-branding will align the airline more closely with its Fijian heritage and its role as Fiji’s largest inbound and outbound airline.
“Globally there is high consumer awareness of Fiji as a holiday destination. We want to strengthen that association and also promote Fiji in every country we fly to,” says David Pflieger, Air Pacific’s managing director and CEO. “Returning to ‘Fiji Airways’ will better reflect our role as Fiji’s national carrier, and also assist Fiji by growing tourism and interest in the nation.”
Pflieger continues: “Our airline is one of Fiji’s largest companies, employing 800 people directly and an estimated 8,000 or so indirectly, and we fly in over 60 per cent of all visitors who come to Fiji. So it only makes sense for us to embrace our uniquely Fijian culture and spirit, characteristics which have seen Fiji consistently recognized by consumers as one of the world’s friendliest countries and no doubt helped us win a recent award as one of the top 10 small airlines in the world.”
Adds Pflieger: “Our rebranding is part of an overall turnaround plan – a plan that is working well and should, with continued focus and effort, help us thrive and grow as the preferred airline of the South Pacific.
“In 2010/2011 Air Pacific and Pacific Sun carried a combined 1.1million passengers on 15,000 flights,” Pflieger continues. “This represents a year-on-year increase of 37,000 additional passengers, which helped increase revenue by FJD40 million. At the same time non-fuel costs were reduced by FJD13 million.”
Says Pflieger: “With a strong offering of outstanding resorts, hotel properties and diverse activities, we see a lot of opportunity to grow the profile of Fiji as both a final destination and a stopover destination for our long-haul services to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
“Our recent investment in new aircraft, a new inflight product, a new airport lounge, and better service, should also position us to capture more of Fiji’s high-end leisure travel market,” he adds.
According to Air Pacific, its continued turnaround has already been marked by an increased number of flights between Fiji and Sydney, an aircraft order for three new Airbus A330-200 widebodies, an order for Rolls-Royce’s Trent 700 engines to power the A330s, and other work focusing on revitalizing and modernizing the airline’s product and services.
Air Pacific’s restructuring also included the cancellation of an order for eight Boeing 787-8 jets in April 2011, following Boeing’s inability to deliver the aircraft within three years of their planned delivery dates.
The carrier says its transition to its new livery and brand will be a methodical and planned process and expects the process to be fully completed by the end of 2013.
Air Pacific’s new fleet of A330-200s, which are due to be delivered from July 2013, will be delivered featuring the airline’s new name and livery.
However, the new brand will be rolled out across the marketplace, ticket offices, check-in counters, airport lounge facilities, and the company’s official website and advertising over the upcoming 18 months, according to Air Pacific.
The carrier says passengers and employees will be able to track the progress of the re-branding by visiting www.fijiairways.com, a website which existed but was not yet functional as of May 21.
Air Pacific and its subsidiary Pacific Sun together fly more than 300 flights per week. The company operates two Boeing 747-400s, one 737-700 and three 737-800s from Fiji to 15 cities in 10 countries. Destinations include Hong Kong, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.
Pacific Sun operates two ATR 42-500 regional airliners and four De Havilland Twin Otters on Fiji’s 10 domestic island routes. Its ATR 42s also operate regional services to Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.