Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi) has announced it has selected the A350 from Airbus for its widebody fleet renewal and expansion plan.

In a statement, the carrier's Managing Director Andre Viljoen said the two Trent-powered A350-900s will feature 33 lie-flat business class seats and 301 economy class seats. They will be leased from DAE Capital and will deliver in November and December of this year. ch-aviation understands the aircraft were originally destined for Hong Kong Airlines (HX, Hong Kong Int'l).

According to Viljoen, the selection process started in October 2016 given new a five-year plan anticipated 8% capacity growth per annum. The airline then issued RFIs and RFPs to Airbus, Boeing, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, and sixteen lessors for proposals regarding the B787-9, the A330-900, and A350-900. Eventually, the airline's board took the decision to go with DAE Capital and the A350 during a meeting on May 1.

"The new additions to the airline’s widebody fleet will be used to primarily service popular routes between the US and Australia, with exact schedules to be confirmed closer to launch," he said.

According to ch-aviation schedule data, the A350-900s have been provisionally slated to serve each of Sydney Kingsford Smith (daily) and Los Angeles Int'l (6x weekly) with effect from January 1, 2020.

Although no new destinations were announced, Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said in his speech the A350s have the potential to connect Fiji with Chicago O'Hare, Vancouver Int'l, Chennai, Dallas/Fort Worth, and even South America.

Fiji Airways currently operates five A330-200s and one A330-300 on flights to South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the US West Coast.