Fijian flag carrier Air Pacific has posted a profit for the year ending March 31, reversing two years of losses.
Air Pacific Limited recorded an operating profit for the year of F$16.5m (A$9.03m), marking a major turnaround from the operating loss of F$3.7m (A$2.02m) the previous year. That came on the back of record revenue of F$645.9m (A$353.6m), a 16 per cent increase on the year prior.
The Air Pacific Group, which also includes Pacific Sun and a stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, recorded an operating profit of F$13.4m (A$7.33m).
“Over the last two years, the Air Pacific team has not only designed, but delivered on a turnaround plan focussed on returning it to profitability for shareholders, staff, and the Fijian people,” said CEO Dave Pflieger.
“To report a profit in a year that witnessed significant fuel cost increases, strong and continued competition in a key market from two low cost carriers, and two major flooding crises, is a rousing testament to the hard work, dedication and effectiveness of the men and women who proudly represent Fiji’s national airline.”
During the year, Air Pacific retired a Boeing 767-300, introduced a new 737-800 and signed purchase agreements to take three Airbus A330-200s which will be delivered from 2013. The airline has also announced that it will rebrand to its former name of Fiji Airways when the new aircraft are delivered.
Mr Pflieger added that while the return to profitability was a sign that the airline’s turnaround strategy was working, there were still some possible bumps ahead.
“While we are focussed on doing what it takes to win new customers and provide our passengers with the best flying experience in the South Pacific, we remain mindful that a spike in fuel prices or changes to market conditions and therefore travel plans could impact our success while we finished restructuring and transforming Fiji’s national airline,” he said.
Air Pacific is 46 per cent owned by Qantas, and the Australian airline has long been looking to dispose of its stake, but has been in disputes with the other major shareholder, Fiji’s military government. Earlier this year Qantas withdrew its four directors from the board of Air Pacific, including Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey and QantasLink EGM Narendra Kumar, as a response to what is sees as an effort by the government to take control of the airline.