Fiji Airways has revealed plans to modernise its fleet of single-aisle jet aircraft, which it uses to operate flights across Oceania and the Pacific.
The national carrier has placed an order for five brand new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worth US$550 million at list prices, to replace its five existing B737s. The first two aircraft are due to be delivered in 2018 with the final three arriving the following year.
Once delivered, the five aircraft will be deployed on Fiji Airways’ short- and medium-haul routes to destinations including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways’ managing director & CEO, said the B737 MAX had been chosen “following the conclusion of an extremely exhaustive procurement and selection process”.
“The improved operating economics and product enhancements were compelling reasons to consider renewing the current Boeing 737 aircraft,” Viljoen said.
“This is a major capital decision that had to be done correctly so we followed a rigorous, thorough and transparent process to find the right solution. As a consequence of the fierce competition between the rival bidders and the extensive process followed by Fiji Airways, we have achieved a ground-breaking package deal.”
The renewal of the airline’s single-aisle fleet follows the recent revamp of its twin-aisle aircraft, with the old B747s being replaced by new Airbus A330s in the last few years. Regional subsidiary Fiji Link has also welcomed new ATR turboprop aircraft.
Commenting on the deal, Boeing’s senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific & India, Dinesh Keskar, said the B737 MAX would be “the ideal airplane for Fiji Airways, allowing them to expand into new markets throughout Oceania and Southeast Asia”.