Fiji Airways has shortlisted two new Asian destinations, one of which the national airline plans to start flying to after the arrival of another new Airbus A330 in 2016.
Fiji Airways managing director/chief executive, Stefan Pichler, confirmed this to Sun Business. Pichler, however, said he could not reveal the names of these two destinations at the moment.
This confirmation follows the latest announcement of the overhaul of its entire on-board flight experience which includes new meals, free inflight entertainment, new magazine and new duty free products.
“As I mentioned earlier, we are going to get another A330 in 2016 and this A330 will most certainly go to Asia,” Pichler said.
“Now we have two destinations on short list. We still need to compare them and see what the partnerships can be done.
“Finally when we have done that, which we hope will be done by the end of this year, then we will know where to go.”
Whilst Fiji Airways plans to tap into the Asian market, it is not forgetting the region.
Pichler once again reiterated the airline’s commitment to enhance it’s South Pacific Network.
He referred to talks with Samoa the past week where there are plans to expand the services.
But, Pichler highlighted: “Some of these new routes destinations also link to Air Service Agreements with the countries.
“So when there is Air Service Agreement between the countries, then we can fly. When there is none, or something restricting us, we can’t.
“Politicians and the Government have to work hand-in-hand with us to enable us to do this.”.
Meanwhile, Fiji Airways has upgraded its economy-class meal service, effective immediately, after taking into account a significant amount of negative feedback from its passengers.
The airline has removed its box presentation concept and most of the burger and wrap selections and will re-introduce tray service with hot meals in economy class on flights to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
“One of our core business values is that we listen to customers in order to make smart business decisions,” Fiji Airways chief executive Stefan Pichler said. “Our on-board catering, especially on the short and medium haul sectors, attracted their fare share of negative feedback since introduction and we have been taking it all into account.”
Many economy class travellers from Australia have posted reviews of their flights on the Skytrax website, and several have complained about the food.
“The food is awful,” one passenger said. “Nobody expects great food on a plane but what they serve is just a small bun with some sort of nondescript patty, coleslaw, juice and a biscuit. Improve the service and the food and this airline could be considerably better.”
Another Australian customer said the food was “just brown slop with a bone in it and rice”, while a third said: “I would hardly feed it to my dog.”
Members of the Qantas Airways frequent flyer program often redeem their points for use on Fiji Airways services to Nadi because the Australian mainline carrier does not offer its own flights to the destination, although Jetstar and Virgin Australia do.
In addition to the immediate upgrade to its economy-class food, Fiji Airways will launch a signature dish designed by Castaway Island Resort executive chef Lance Seeto for its business class customers from September 1. The dish will feature top quality Fijian produce. A signature welcome cocktail and mocktail will also be introduced, along with a hors d’oeuvre service and specially selected wines.
Pichler said the airline planned further changes to onboard products, including in-flight entertainment, in-flight duty free and the in-flight magazine which will be rolled out in stages.
Fiji Airways’s goal is to become a “leading global boutique airline”, and Pichler said addressing the in-flight experience was a key priority…
SUVA, 23 (FIJI SUN/AAP)