On November 15, 2019, Fiji Airways took delivery of its first Airbus A350, marking the beginning of a new era of the airline’s long-haul fleet.
The aircraft is the first of the two A350s that Fiji Airways ordered back in May 2019.
Fiji Airways Takes Delivery of Its First A350
Both of the A350s that Fiji Airways has on order are of the shorter A350-900 variant. They will both be equipped with 33 B/E Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone business class seats and 301 economy class seats.
The onboard product, especially in business class, will be a significant improvement over what can be found on the airline’s A330. Andre Viljoen, the Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, commented:
Ultimately, a luxury, world-class destination, like Fiji, deserves a luxury, world-class travel experience and that’s exactly what these aircraft will deliver. For our guests, the holiday starts the moment they board the aircraft.
Rather than purchasing the A350s outright, Fiji Airways leased the aircraft through Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Capital. Perhaps that’s also part of the reason why the newly delivered airframe will stop at Dubai Airshow for a couple of days before making its way home from Toulouse to Fiji.
The two aircraft will be used to expand Fiji Airways’ wide-body fleet of six A330s – five A330-200s and one A330-300. The airline also uses 737-700 and 737-800s on its shorter and thinner routes. It also owns the currently grounded 737 MAX 8s.
Fiji Airways Airbus A350-900 Routes
While Fiji Airways took delivery of its first A350, the aircraft will not enter into scheduled operation until December 1, 2019.
At that point, it will start to operate a daily rotation on the airline’s key routes, Nadi (NAN) – Sydney (SYD), with the following schedule:
- FJ911 / NAN – SYD / 9:35AM – 12:05PM
- FJ910 / SYD – NAN / 1:20PM – 7:05PM
The flights are currently operated with a mix of 737s and A330s.
Once the airline takes delivery of the second A350, the type will also be deployed on Fiji Airways’ flagship route between Nadi and Los Angeles (LAX).
The aircraft is scheduled to appear on the route for the first time on December 22, 2019, and from then until January 17, 2020, will operate the flights every other day with the following schedule:
- FJ810 / NAN – LAX / 9:40PM – 11:25AM
- FJ811 / LAX – NAN / 9:30PM – 6:00AM+2
After that, the frequency will increase further. The non-A350 frequencies will be served by the A330.
Receiving the first Airbus A350 is a big moment for Fiji Airways. It not only marks an expansion of the airline’s wide-body fleet, but also a significant upgrade in onboard product, especially in business class.
That said, with two airframes, the airline will only be able to use it on a very limited amount of its route. Essentially the two that we already know about – Sydney and Los Angeles. As such, for the foreseeable future, its other long-haul routes like San Francisco and Tokyo will remain to be served by the A330.
Hopefully, though, within a few years, the airline will decide to either retrofit the A330s with its newer onboard product or replace them with more A350s to offer consistent experience across its fleet.