Qantas is saying ‘Bula’ to Fiji for the first time in nearly twenty years, with a new direct flight from Sydney taking off today in time for the April school holidays.
The direct service will operate four times a week to Nadi – the country’s main tourism gateway – with a Boeing 737 aircraft, meeting growing demand from customers wanting a premium travel option to the islands.
The flights add to Jetstar’s direct services which also operate four times per week and will see the Qantas Group offer customers more than 75,000 seats on the route annually and the choice to fly to the popular holiday destination six days a week.
Qantas flight QF101 departed Sydney this morning marked by celebrations for customers at the gate, including a performance from traditional Fijian warrior dancers.
Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said the new flights were a win for the more than 365,000 Australians who travel to Fiji each year.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for premium holidays to Fiji which is why Qantas is returning after nearly twenty years. Part of this growth has been driven by a wave of new and refurbished luxury properties having opened up on the islands in recent years,” Ms Webster said.
“We’ve had a fantastic response from travellers, with strong demand for the direct flights particularly around the peak school holiday periods. Since we went on sale in January, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of five-star Fiji hotel bookings made online through Qantas Hotels.
“The combination of a Qantas and Jetstar schedule means we can provide more options to a destination that caters to different budgets and tastes, with good interstate connections for passengers travelling from other parts of Australia, and more opportunities for Qantas Frequent Flyer to earn points.”
Customers travelling on Qantas’ new service will be offered a checked baggage allowance, inflight entertainment and food and drinks all included as part of the fare, and the option to fly or upgrade to Business class. Qantas customers travelling on the Jetstar codeshare service will enjoy additional benefits, including the opportunity for Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn points and status credits and a complimentary meal.
Qantas will also continue to codeshare on Fiji Airways’ services to Nadi, with Fiji Airways now integrated as a oneworld connect partner.
QANTAS’ EARLY OPERATIONS IN FIJI
1945 Qantas operated its first flight to Fiji, a Sydney-Suva charter service operated by a flying boat, on 17 November 1945. The first flight took 18 hours and took two stops, in Brisbane and Noumea, to carry just 20 passengers.
1948 Qantas made Sydney to Suva an officially scheduled service in January 1948. Catalina flying boats, carrying up to 14 passengers, were introduced, and flying time was reduced to 15 hours with one stop in Noumea.
1954 Qantas operated its first trans-Pacfic service from Sydney to San Francisco and Vancouver, stopping in Fiji. This flight was operated by the Super Constellation aircraft.
1957 Fiji became part of aviation history when Qantas pioneered its round-the-world route with a proving flight on a Super Constellation. The flight was inaugurated as a regular service in January 1958.
1959 Qantas entered the jet age in July 1959, introducing the Boeing 707 and slashing flying time between Australia and Fiji to less than four hours.
2019 Qantas returns to Fiji after almost 20 years, launching a new Sydney-Nadi service operated by a Boeing 737.