1. Fiji Airways was established after World War 2.
Fiji Airways can date its history back to around the end of World War 2, when Fiji was a British colony that had sent soldiers to fight in the war against the Japanese. Although founded in 1947 as Katafaga Estates, LTD by Australian pilot Harold Gatty, the airline didn’t take off until 1951 as Fiji Airways.
Its founder, Harold Gatty, had been part of an historic and record breaking around-the-world flight in 1931 with Wiley Post. After World War 2, Gatty moved from Australia to the pacific island nation of Fiji and founded the airline. Fred Ladd, a New Zealander, was the first chief pilot of Fiji Airways when it first flew in 1951.
2. Qantas owns a large portion of Fiji Airways.
Australian flag carrier Qantas became involved with Fiji Airways in the late 1950s after founder Harold Gatty’s death in 1958. Qantas acquired the airline outright and began involving the governments of other pacific island nations surrounding Fiji to grow the airline. In less than 10 years following the acquisition, the governments of 5 nearby nations had shares in Fiji Airways. Qantas’ control of the airline remained until received independence from Great Britain in the 1970s.
Following its independence, the government of Fiji started to buy more and more shares of the airline and relegating Qantas to a minority shareholder, as well as changed the name to Air Pacific. The airline was changed back to Fiji Airways in 2012 and today, Qantas owns 46 percent of the airline and the Fiji government owns 52 percent, with the rest of the percentages going to nearby governments, although no government subsidies are given to the airline.
3. Has had no accidents involving its aircraft since its inception.
In a feat nearly unheard of for an airline as old as Fiji Airways, none of the airline’s aircraft have ever been involved in an accident or crash in the airline’s history. The only incident involving Fiji Airways was under its regional carrier Fiji Link in which an engine caught fire in 2018. However, the airplane successfully returned to the airport and there were no injuries or deaths.
4. Fiji Airways is part of the oneworld alliance.
The carrier just joined the oneworld airline alliance in June of this year. Its membership into the alliance was most likely influenced by minority shareholder Qantas, a founding member of the alliance. Fiji Airways was brought in as a oneworld connect member, a new program implemented by oneworld in which Fiji Airways is the first member.
Before joining oneworld, the carrier had codeshare agreements with numerous oneworld carriers including American Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific. However, membership in oneworld opens the airline to partner with more airlines and provide seamless connections to its passengers and extra benefits for elite frequent flyer members.
5. Fiji Airways used to operate Boeing Jets only.
From the year 1981 to 2012, excluding a two-year period from 1983 to 1985, Fiji Airways operated a jet fleet that consisted entirely of Boeing aircraft. In its past, the airline operated nearly every category of Boeing aircraft including the Boeing 737-200/-300/-500, Boeing 747-100/-200/-400, Boeing 767-200/-300ER and Boeing 777-200ER. The only non-Boeing jet that the airline flew was the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30.
Currently, the airline uses the Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 for its long-haul operations and maintains a fleet of 5 Boeing 737 aircraft comprised of the -700 and -800 variants with an order for 5 of one of Boeing’s newest narrowbody aircraft, the Boeing 737 MAX 8, on order.
6. Based at Nadi International Airport.
Fiji Airways’ main hub is at Nadi International Airport in the city of Nadi on the west coast of the main island of Fiji. The airport began as a military airstrip built and used during World War 2 to help the war effort in the Pacific theater. Numerous countries used the airstrip as it was built by the British, extended by New Zealand as used by the US Army Air Corps and US Navy during World War 2.
From Nadi, Fiji Airways operates flights to 22 cities on 3 continents. The airline maintains a secondary in hub in Suva, the country’s capital on the east coast of Fiji’s main island, where it operates a handful of international flights and regional flights through Fiji Link from Nausori International Airport. Despite the proximity on the same island, the two airports are accessible via Fiji Link.
7. Fiji Airways is the Flag Carrier of Fiji.
As its name suggests, Fiji Airways is the flag carrier of the Republic of Fiji. Due to the island nation’s small size, there is very little room for competition on the long-haul stage, which allows Fiji Airways to dominate. As flag carrier, it is one of the airline’s main jobs to connect the islands of Fiji to the rest of the world, which it does on its own aircraft and through its codeshare and oneworld partners. Read Shannon's Guide on what to do in Fiji.
8. Largest Aircraft is an Airbus A330-300.
When Fiji Airways rebranded in 2012, it replaced its fleet of Boeing long haul aircraft with the Airbus A330 family of aircraft. Its Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 777-200ER wet leased from Euro Atlantic Airways were replaced by the Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 as the carriers two largest aircraft. Although the airline only has one A330-300 in the fleet, its Airbus A330-300 named Island of Rotuma and registration DQ-FJW, is the largest aircraft in the Fiji Airways fleet.
The aircraft flies the airline’s long-haul routes including Fiji-Los Angeles, Sydney and Hong Kong alongside its counterpart, the Airbus A330-200. Fiji operates the aircraft in a 2-class configuration consisting of only Business and Economy Class.
9. Fiji Airways longest flight goes to Beijing.
Coming in at 4,848 nautical miles, Fiji Airways longest route is from Nadi to Beijing. Fiji Airways operates the flight to China’s capital city on a seasonal charter basis with its Airbus A330 aircraft. Taking nearly 11 hours, it beats out the airline’s next longest route, Nadi to Los Angeles, by only 52 nautical miles. Other top routes for Fiji Airways include Nadi to San Francisco, Hong Kong and Taipei.
10. Only airline to provide direct links between US and Fiji.
Historically, airlines based in the United States have not been great at serving island nations in the South Pacific Ocean from the US, besides United Airlines’ island hopper flight from Honolulu, Hawaii to numerous islands in the Pacific using a Boeing 737. Due to the lack of American carriers serving the region and Fiji in particular, Fiji Airways is the only airline to connect Fiji with the United States. From Nadi, passengers can fly nonstop to Honolulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles only with Fiji Airways.
My Travel Hacks shared with you!
I put together a whole article with my best Business Travel Hacks and Trips. Including how to get cheap lounge access, affordable airport pick ups or how to find the best seat on your next flight, check it out!