Since the rise of the pandemic, Fiji has been closed to tourists. However, after 20 months of tourism inactivity, Fiji’s government recently announced a plan to reopen the country’s border from December 1st, which means that Fiji Airways’ 737 MAX aircraft will return to the skies to conduct scheduled services.
Back in action
As December kicks off, the flag carrier of Fiji will launch 14 weekly services between Nadi on Fiji’s main island and Sydney on its Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 737 MAX jets. Moreover, the airline will fly daily to Los Angeles with its A350s. It will also head to San Francisco five times a week using the A330 widebody, which will also be used services to Auckland and Christchurch alongside the 737 MAX. The MAX will also be seen arriving in Honolulu twice a week.
The operator will also be flying across East Asia, with three weekly flights to Hong Kong and two weekly services Singapore and Tokyo-Narita with the A330.
Notably, Fiji is deploying all jet families of its well-balanced fleet as it prepares to carry passengers to and from its nation as tourism gets going again. The Boeing 737 is the only narrowbody family that it holds. The carrier currently has five MAX 8s and two 737-800s.
Return of the MAX
The MAX 8 first arrived at Fiji Airways’ facilities in November 2018. The latest unit arrived just this July. Importantly, the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) confirmed the clearance of the 737 MAX this spring, ahead of Australia and New Zealand, which followed suit as summer arrived. So, the MAX is already cleared to fly in the markets where Fiji Airways will be sending the twinjet.
Fiji Airways’ MAXs will primarily be operating in the same regions they were seen before the universal grounding in March 2019. In the month before the grounding, 144 flights were scheduled with the airline’s MAX fleet.
“After almost two years of no tourism, we are more than ready to safely welcome back international travellers from 1st December and greet them with our famous Fijian hospitality. Fiji’s entire tourism industry has been waiting for this.” Fiji Airways Managing Director & CEO Andre Viljoen shared about Fiji’s reopening in a company statement.
“Equally, we know that our fellow Fijians are eager to travel abroad for leisure, business and to meet family and friends. We cannot wait to safely transport them around our international network as soon as they are able to, subject to the entry requirements of the destination country.”
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The next chapter
Altogether, flight activity is picking up across the globe heading into the end of the year. Additionally, countries are continuing to clear the 737 MAX after its grounding. So, more units of the type will be spotted at airports across the globe as 2022 arrives.
Simple Flying reached out to Fiji Airways about the Boeing 737 MAX. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.
What are your thoughts about Fiji Airways resuming regular 737 MAX flights this December? Do you feel that this is a good move by the carrier? Let us know what you think of plans and their prospects in the comment section.