Fiji Airways is moving to end most of its international flights. The Nadi based airline says this is because of the unprecedented nature and scale of the challenges caused by COVID-19. The suspensions are taking effect immediately. However, Fiji Airways will maintain a skeleton service to Singapore and operate some reparation flights over the next week.
Fiji Airways Suspends 95% Of International Flights
Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen, said in a statement;
“This is by far the most drastic move in our airline’s proud 68-year history. They are, however, necessary measures to navigate through this crisis. We are restricted by the border control measures now enforced across a large part of our network, which make it nearly impossible for us or any airline to continue scheduled operations. The suspension will be in place until such time as demand returns.”
The small Pacific airline of just 13 aircraft normally flies to 23 destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. Fiji Airways plays an important role in linking a lot of small and isolated islands to key hubs and the wider world.
That’s set to end as Fiji Airways moves to suspend its international flights. The sole exception will be twice-weekly flights between Nadi and Singapore.
Fiji Airways does not operate daily flights to all of its international destinations. Effective immediately, flights between Nadi and Brisbane, Melbourne, Christchurch, Wellington, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Narita), Apia, Tarawa, Christmas Island (Kiritimati), Vava’u, San Francisco are suspended. These suspensions are in place until the end of May.
Earlier today, regularly scheduled Fiji Airways flights departed to both Sydney and Auckland. However, these flights will be the last to both cities. The final service to Los Angeles departed earlier today. The return flight will depart Los Angeles on Tuesday, 24 March 2020.
Mr. Viljoen said;
“We are mindful of the importance of Fiji Airways to Fijian tourism and the Fijian economy. The country needs its tourism industry to survive, and Fiji Airways is an integral part of this ecosystem.
“These are necessary and prudent measures to preserve cash as we, like most other airlines around the world, try to ride out this crisis. It is unfortunate and we will assist all staff through the difficult days and weeks ahead. Cash preservation is the only way to ensure the sustainability of our airline.”
Fiji Airlines is planning on operating one-off repatriation flights this week to get people home. Return services to Tokyo (Narita) are planned for 27 March and Hong Kong for 29 March.
Fiji Airways is advising customers to go to www.fijiairways.com to book one of these flights. The airline’s call center is busy. Fiji Airways asks its customers with flights coming up to wait until the airline contacts them. The airline asks customers who booked tickets through travel agents or online third parties to contact those agencies. Customers can defer travel or keep a credit for future use.