Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi) resumes commercial intercontinental flights ferrying fully vaccinated passengers on December 1 after having been virtually grounded for nearly two years due to COVID-19.

This follows an announcement on October 10 by Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama that the South Pacific archipelago would reopen its borders on December 1 to fully vaccinated tourists from certain countries which have reached widespread vaccination thresholds. This comes as more than 80% of Fiji’s population has been vaccinated. Countries that have been greenlighted include Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, the UAE, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and most Pacific Island countries and territories. Travellers must have spent at least 10 days in any of these countries. More destinations will be added as their populations become fully vaccinated. While there will be no more quarantine, vaccinated travellers will still have to present a 72-hour negative PCR test and will have to undergo another rapid antigen test on arrival at their pre-booked resort or hotel.

Quarantine-free inter-island travel would also re-open from November 11 if vaccination rates continued to improve, Bainimarama said.

On December 1, Fiji Airways will resume schedules from Nadi to:

Fiji Airways will adjust its planned schedules closer to the time should certain countries remain closed for international travel by December 1. The airline operates a fleet of three owned A330-200s, one A330-300 leased from Avolon, two A350-900s leased from DAE Capital, two B737-800s leased from AerCap and DAE Capital respectively, and five B737 MAXs leased from GECAS, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows.

In an interview with ch-aviation, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer André Viljoen said: “It’s been a long-haul for us, waiting with the border closed. And obviously, as a small national airline, it put us under a lot of pressure having our revenue fall to zero overnight in April 2020. I can’t tell you the excitement and the euphoria that is running through our company and our country about the fact that we are going to start opening up.”

He said the airline had been targeting December 1 as the restart date for the past three months. “We’ve been working around the clock to ensure that we are totally ready for that," he commented. He said the airline's modified schedule from December 2019 had been available for bookings for some time, resulting in 9,200 bookings already for December 2021.

Domestic subsidiary Fiji Link (FJA, Nadi) already resumed operating on September 18 between Nadi and Suva using its fleet of seven turboprops including one ATR42-600 and two ATR72-600s, plus four DHC-6-400 Twin Otters.

Viljoen explained that the whole of Fiji would be open for holidaymakers from December 1 except for a few areas where access was being controlled due to low vaccination rates or current cases of infection. However, as these areas opened up, Fiji Link would service more destinations, Viljoen said.

Editorial Comment: Correcting 2x weekly services to Honululu. - 12.10.2021 - 13:54 UTC