Australian and Fiji flag carriers will be able to add more seats between the two countries thanks to an expanded air services agreement.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said Australia and Fiji have agreed to increase passenger capacity by 10 per cent and double the available freight allowance, noting the increases had been “long sought after” by airlines and airports.
“The additional passenger capacity will provide more opportunities for airlines to strengthen business and tourism links between our two countries,” Chester said in a statement on Monday.
“Doubling airline freight capacity on the route will also allow carriers to capitalise on the significant trade and investment relationship between Australia and Fiji, valued at over $4.2 billion in 2015-16.”
Prior to the announced expansion, Fiji, Hong Kong and Qatar were the only three markets where airlines from those countries had utilised all available capacity for flights to Australia’s four major gateways Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Moreover, Australian carriers had also utilised the 5,000 available seats a week to Fiji, meaning they are unable to grow traffic on the route.
Currently, Qantas’s low-cost unit Jetstar serves Nadi from Sydney, having dropped its Gold Coast-Nadi flights in March 2017. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia offers nonstop services to Nadi from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
On the Fiji side, the country’s flag carrier Fiji Airways serves Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney from Nadi with a combination of Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 equipment. The airline also operates between Sydney and Suva and plans to start Nadi-Adelaide flights from June.
While Fiji Airways is majority government owned, Qantas holds 46 per cent of the airline and codeshares on its services between the two countries.
“This is a great outcome for both countries and we will continue to work with the Fiji Government to ensure the air services arrangements continue to meet the needs of all stakeholders,” Chester said.