A new freighter service between Fiji and Singapore is planned by Fiji Airways in October, with two outbound trips and two return trips on the cards. This will fill a gap in the cargo market sorely missed since the crisis began and will stimulate the local economy.
Why is Fiji Airways operating this service?
Fiji typically relies on passenger services to deliver cargo – but without direct flights taking place during this crisis, commerce has suffered as a result. This planned operation will benefit both enterprises on the islands and those in Asia.
In better times, Fiji Airways, among others, operated a twice-weekly flight to Singapore with an Airbus A330. This 10-hour flight afforded cheap access for cargo to Asian markets for export and connected the island to freight from Europe that would have to otherwise come from Australia and New Zealand.
This cargo operation isn’t a new scheduled route by the airline, but rather two return trips spaced out over the month with enough time to pack the plane as tightly as possible with freight.
“The Fiji-Singapore freighter service will operate on 7th and 21st October, while the Singapore-Fiji freighter service will operate on 8th and 22nd October.”
Who will benefit from this service?
As passengers won’t fly on this flight, it will only serve those who rely on international deliveries. It will be a two-way trip, with cargo from Fiji (such as farmers produce) heading to Singapore (and onto prosperous Europe and Asia markets) and cargo from those countries coming to the country (foreign products sought by locals, medicine and technology).
Fiji Airways remains committed to operating dedicated freighter services, which are vital for Fiji’s business and export sector, benefiting primary producers, farmers, fisherfolk, workers, exporters, freight forwarders and consumers alike.
The cargo flights are also a test operation for the airline that is considering scheduled cargo services in the future. While they don’t open with regular frequency to Singapore, if the demand is there, then Fiji Airways will jump onboard.
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While Fiji Airways does not have weekly scheduled freighter services to Singapore, the airline is able to operate ad-hoc freighter services to certain destinations if demand exists.
Those looking to take advantage of this opportunity should enquire through their freight forwarder for details as soon as they can.
The fact that an airline has to implement cargo operations with its own fleet tells how much reliance there is on passenger aircraft to transport goods. Without regular passenger service, island nations like Fiji need to move quickly to have their connections, especially if they don’t want to rely on nearby countries like Australia and New Zealand (who may implement their own higher prices than Singapore). Overall this is a good move by the airline, and the benefits will be far-reaching for those in Fiji.
What do you think about this move? Let us know in the comments.