Fiji is eyeing reopening its borders before the end of the year. National carrier Fiji Airways is welcoming the prospects of flights resuming. The airline is hoping to resume significant levels of international flying once passport control at Nadi Airport reopens as soon as November.
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Tentative November 1 border re-opening date for Fiji
Right now, Fiji’s borders are firmly shut. The only international flying taking place are freight flights and repatriation flights for Fijian citizens. But Fiji’s entire working population is on track to be fully vaccinated by November.
At the start of September, 47.6% of all Fiji’s adults are fully vaccinated, and 95.9% of the target population have received one dose. Earlier this week, Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed he was eyeing November 1 as the border re-opening date.
In the meantime, scheduled domestic flights on Fiji Airway’s local subsidiary Fiji Link remain suspended owing to ongoing movement restrictions and passenger flight suspension directives.
Until the anticipated border re-opening, international Fiji Airways services are down to one repatriation flight a month to Hong Kong, two repatriation flights a month to LAX, and four repatriation flights a month to Auckland, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Fiji Airways banking on Australian borders re-opening
It is not much flying for an airline that prides itself on being one of the best-connected airlines in the South Pacific. Normally, Fiji Airways flies to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu.
A weekend stopover in Fiji isn’t the fastest way to cross the Pacific, but it is arguably one of the more civilized ways to do so, especially if you luck out and get to fly on one of Fiji Airways’ new Airbus A350-900s.
Raising hopes in Fiji is word its biggest tourist market may also crack its borders open later this year. Nearly half of Fiji’s tourists come from Australia, and there are growing signs there the Australian Government is looking to ease its border closures and travel restrictions by the year’s end. Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Mr Andre Viljoen welcomes the news.
“The best present we could receive is the knowledge that in the near future we’ll welcome our Australian guests back onboard our aircraft with a big Fijian Bula,” he says.
While Fiji Airways hasn’t released schedules, it plans to do so in the coming weeks once the respective governments lock in the re-opening dates.
Fiji Airways bests Qantas on its own patch
It is a more cautious approach than Qantas, who have timetabled in four return Boeing 737-800 flights a week between Sydney and Nadi from December 21. While Qantas is the bigger airline, Fiji Airways has always commanded the biggest share of passengers flying between the two countries. Fiji Airways has more frequent flights and usually better planes. Why would you cram into a Qantas Boeing 737 when Fiji Airways sends an A350 down to Sydney to fly you out?
Fiji Airways is also keen to highlight they are the only airline in the Australia-Pacific region and one of only a handful globally to achieve a Skytrax 5-Star COVID safety rating. In addition, Fiji Airways has the highest “DIAMOND” or Hospital Grade certification for APEX Health Safety.
With many Australians itching to go somewhere, anywhere, Fiji Airways is playing it smart and planting the prospect of celebrating New Year’s Eve on a Fijian beach in people’s minds. Naturally, Fiji Airways would like to fly you there.