Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi) has exited two A330-200s from its fleet a few months ahead of their original lease end-date.

The carrier confirmed to ch-aviation that DQ-FJP (msn 807) left the fleet on July 29 (and is now in Abu Dhabi Int'l, Flightradar24 ADS-B data reveals) and will be followed by DQ-FJO (msn 751) on August 2. The two aircraft joined Fiji Airways' fleet in May and July 2018 on short-term leases from Carlyle Aviation Partners. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were taken out of regular rotation in March 2020.

“The two aircraft were added to the fleet in 2018 to boost capacity in the short-term, allowing for an increase in the frequency and launch of new routes like Tokyo Narita. The aircraft were invaluable to helping Fiji Airways recover schedules following disruptions caused by the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,” Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways' managing director and CEO, said in a statement.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've worked hard with the lessors of these aircraft to allow for an early return by a few months. This was only possible because these two A330s were short-term and nearing end-of-lease. Still, we’ll take every little win in our efforts to reduce fixed costs as we tide through this pandemic.”

Fiji Airways' jet fleet includes three more A330-200s, one A330-300, two A350-900s, two B737-800s, and five B737-8s.

Given the impact the pandemic has had on Fiji's tourism-dependent economy, in May last year, the government agreed to guarantee loans to the airline totalling FJD455 million (USD219.9 million). Fiji's Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told parliament in May that the airline's overall debt amounts to FJD762 million Fijian dollars (USD368.28 million), of which the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) is owed 30%, the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) 10%, various German banks 30%, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 18%, and lessors 12%.