Fiji Airways, the flag carrier of Fiji, is set to resume Adelaide flights with Boeing 737 Max from July. After a long gap of 3 years, the airline has made an announcement to return to Adelaide by operating twice-weekly direct services between the South Australian capital and Nadi from July 4, 2022.
Resumption of Adelaide service
At the opening ceremony of the Fiji Tourism Expo, Fiji Airways revealed its plans to relaunch two weekly flights on the Nadi-Adelaide routes, on Mondays and Thursdays, commencing on Monday, July 4, 2022, using narrowbody Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Fiji Airways inaugurated its first Adelaide service in July 2017, marking its expansion and growth in the most significant market after Fiji to provide easy accessibility for Fijians and South Australians. The airline aimed for the route service to complement long-haul journeys from Nadi by providing South Australians a new one-stop option to Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
In December 2018, Fiji Airways deployed it’s brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to Adelaide airport by replacing the narrowbody fleet of 737-800s. By upgrading the service to the South Australian capital from 164-seat 737-800s to 170-seat 737 Max 8s, Fiji Airways sought to achieve more fuel efficiency, greater range and significantly upgraded interior for customers’ convenience.
It continued to provide twice-weekly nonstop Nadi-Adelaide service until it decided to withdraw from the route in July 2019. The airline ended its flights to the South Australian capital taking into account a number of factors, including the shortage of aircraft within the fleet.
After three year hiatus, Fiji Airways has decided to come back to the Nadi-Adelaide route with more passenger-friendly flight times. FJ961 will operate the departure flight at 07:15 every Monday and Thursday from July 4, with a flight duration of six hours and 35 minutes and a distance of 2,665 miles. Similarly, FJ960 will perform the return flight from Adelaide to Nadi, touching down in Nadi at 20:35. Customers can book flights through the website or Fiji Airways Global Reservations Center with airfares beginning from FJ899 per person for return economy class and FJ 2,399 for return business class.
Andre Viljoen, the Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, expressed his delight in bringing back the Adelaide service, which would allow Fiji Airways once again to provide unique Fijian hospitality to South Australia and serve as a gateway to other foreign destinations. The bolstering of the aircraft fleet permits the carrier to accommodate the air travel demand out of Adelaide.
Brenton Cox, Managing Director of Adelaide Airport, felicitated Fiji Airways for its prompt comeback from a challenging period and talked about the significant pent-up demand for South Australians willing to head overseas again, with Fiji being a hugely popular destination.
International air connectivity to Adelaide
For the Australian market, Adelaide is the fourth destination of Fiji Airways besides Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. After a 20-month self-imposed international tourism ban following the COVID outbreak, the Fijian national carrier relaunched its services to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Poised for a strong rebound, Fiji Airways is eyeing some new long-haul destinations for Fiji Airways’ schedule.
In the light of low international air schedules through ADL (40% of a pre-pandemic level), the reactivation of Adelaide flights by Fiji Airways will add much-needed international connectivity to Adelaide and pave the path toward direct international flights to and from Adelaide becoming the norm again. Besides Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand is also all set to operate three weekly flights from Auckland to Adelaide from July 4.
The only Max 8 operator in Adelaide
The flag carrier Fiji Airways is the only airline to fly Boeing 737 Max 8 to Adelaide and the second airline in Australia behind Singapore Airlines’ regional wing Silkair. Fiji Airways has five Max 8s, each with a seating capacity of 170 passengers, including eight business class passengers in recliner-style seats. Fiji Airways took the delivery of its first Boeing Max 8 in 2018. The worldwide grounding of Max aircraft and the closure of Fiji’s borders due to the global pandemic caused the aircraft to spend most of its time on the ground. The carrier reintroduced its international flights on the Max aircraft on December 1 as a part of the broader resumption of regular flying.
Boeing 737 Max 8 is an extremely advanced and efficient short and medium-haul aircraft known for its revolutionary design, significantly quiet features, increased fuel efficiency, and environmental friendliness. Making a more feasible option for Adelaide flights, the Boeing Max-8 variant has got the legs to do Adelaide comfortably as opposed to the former 737-800, which required a tech-stop.