Qantas says it plans to return to Fiji for the first time in nearly two decades with nonstop flights between Sydney and Nadi due to kick off from March 31 2019.
The Australian carrier’s Nadi service will operate four times a week with Boeing 737-800 equipment. The flights have been scheduled as a morning departure from Sydney and a late afternoon departure from Nadi.
It will be the fourth airline offering nonstop passenger flights between Australia and Fiji, alongside its low-cost carrier (LCC) unit Jetstar, Fiji Airways and Virgin Australia.
Qantas flagged its intentions to resume flights to Nadi in November 2018, when it sought an allocation of capacity to serve Fiji from Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC).
In addition to its own flights to Nadi, Qantas said on Monday it would add its QF airline code on Jetstar’s four times weekly Sydney-Nadi service.
Further, Qantas would continue to codeshare on Fiji Airways’ flights between Australia and the popular tourist island destination. The Australian carrier has owned 46 per cent of Fiji Airways since 1998.
Fiji Airways serves Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney from its Nadi hub, as well as flies between Sydney and Suva.
Qantas international chief executive Alison Webster said the decision to re-enter the Australia-Fiji market with its own aircraft was based on market demand, with Fiji an “incredibly popular holiday destination” for Australians.
“We have built flexibility into our network to respond to growing demand where we see it,” Webster said in a statement.
“In this case, it’s a returning to Fiji after almost 20 years, a short four-hour hop from Sydney, helping extend the summer for Australians year-round.
“The combination of Qantas and Jetstar also means we can provide more options to a destination which caters to different budgets and tastes, with good interstate connections for passengers travelling from other parts of Australia.”
Qantas’s Boeing 737-800s are configured with 174 seats – 12 business recliners in a 2-2 layout and 162 economy class seats at six abreast.
The announced flights to Nadi was the latest example of Qantas bringing back previously dropped routes.
The airline returned to the Perth-Singapore route in 2015 after a year off the route.
And in 2017, Qantas recommenced Sydney-Beijing nonstop flights for the first time since it dropped the Chinese capital from its route network in 2009.
Australia-Fiji air services agreement was expanded in October
Qantas’s proposed flights to Nadi comes shortly after the governments of Australia and Fiji agreed to expand the air services agreement to increase the number of available seats for airlines of both countries by 20 per cent.
Previously, airlines of both countries were utilising just about all of the 6,500 seats of available capacity from Australia’s four major gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to Fiji. There were no capacity restrictions to Australian cities other than those four points.
Fiji Airways recently took delivery of the first of five Boeing 737 MAX 8s it has on order. The aircraft, which are replacing its Existing 737-800 and 737-700 fleet, are configured with 170 seats in a two-class configuration comprising eight recliners in business class and 162 seats in economy.
VIDEO: A look at Fiji Airways’ Boeing 737 MAX 8 from the airline’s YouTube channel.
It also has six Airbus A330 widebodys that are used on some Australian routes.
And in December 2018, Fiji Airways was formally admitted as the first oneworld connect member, having announced plans to join the airline marketing alliance in the special category in June 2018.
The membership category allowed airlines that wished to join the alliance but did not have either the resources, or need, to offer full reciprocity of frequent flyer benefits and integration with the rest of the full oneworld membership the opportunity to do so.
Eligible oneworld frequent flyers travelling on Fiji Airways have been able to access priority check-in desks and utilise priority boarding lanes from early December 2018.
Frequent flyer members of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas – which sponsored Fiji Airways’ admission as a oneworld connect member – would also soon be able to earn frequent flyer points and status points, as well as access premium passenger lounges and redeem award flights, on Fiji Airways-operated services.
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
The June 2018 magazine edition of Australian Aviation included a feature story on Fiji Airways written by Tom Ballantyne. That story can be read here.