Nadi-based Fiji Airways suspended all scheduled operations yesterday after Fiji Link, the group’s domestic subsidiary, halted its operations. The carrier’s fleet, which is entirely grounded, is ‘on standby for medevac and [to transport] essential supplies domestically and in the region,’ explains Shane Hussein, General Manager of Corporate Communications at Fiji Airways.
The suspension of operations comes after the Fijian government announced a lockdown of Fiji’s capital city, Suva. Fiji Link on 30 March, suspended all its outer-island flights, such as the Suva and Nadi to Labasa services. This left the Nadi to Suva operation the only remaining route in the carrier’s network.
On 20 March, Fiji Airways had announced that it would suspend all international services with the exception of flights to Singapore until the end of May. As a result, the carrier suspended 95% of its operations. The carrier continues to operate repatriation flights. On 24 March, Fiji Airways said it would halt services to Singapore as a result of new border restrictions imposed by the Singaporean government.
Fiji Airways will launch its first freight-only service this Sunday on a service connecting Nadi and Sydney. The carrier will use its Airbus A350-900 to operate the service which will carry 41 tonnes of fresh Fijian produce to Sydney. On the return flight, medical equipment, donated by UNICEF, will be delivered to Nadi. The medical equipment will include vital temperature screening tents.
“We are delighted to start our freight flights from this Sunday with a full shipment of fresh produce to Sydney on our A350 aircraft. This will greatly assist growers, producers and exporters continue their business, support the economy and support the livelihood of Fijians dependent on these sectors. We are also more than happy to carry the medical equipment from Sydney for Fijian Health authorities free of charge,” said Andre Viljoen, Managing Director and CEO at Fiji Airways.
Fiji Airways has, in the past weeks, operated a number of repatriation flights. Carriers around the globe are operating similar flights, something that is therefore, increasingly becoming the norm for aviation services.