Air Pacific's new Airbus A330 will arrive next month and make its debut on flights between Auckland and Fiji in early April, with Brisbane to follow on April 21st and Sydney on June 8th.
The 'sneak peek' schedule will offer travellers a preview of the new business class and economy seats ahead of the airline's rebranding to become Fiji Airways in June.
Air Pacific says its first factory-fresh A330 will arrive from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France ahead of schedule and result in increased frequencies to Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles throughout 2013.
Here's the full Aussie schedule, according to Air Pacific:
- Brisbane will be the first city in Australia to see the A330 on April 21st, with the A330 flying there five times a week until July
- Sydney A330 flights start on June 8th. Weekly flights by A330 and B737 aircraft will increase from 13 to 14 in September, offering customers a double daily every day of the week and up to 17 flights a week during the peak season
- The first Melbourne A330 flight will be in December. Combined A330 and B737 frequencies will increase from 5 to 6 in the December peak period
The airline also notes that its A330 "will begin flights to Hong Kong starting on April 4th, flying there every Thursday and Saturday, with the last Boeing 747 flight taking place at the end of March. A third A330 flight will be added in January 2014 following the arrival of the airline's third new A330."
The USA will see its first Air pacific A330 flight to Los Angeles on July 1st. The current schedule of four Boeing 747 flights a week to LAX will be replaced with a mix of A330 and B747 services offering extra frequencies until November, when the A330s will fully take over the route with daily service.
By the end of 2013, Air Pacific will have retired its B747s, repainted and upgraded all of its B737s, rolled out new uniforms, and introduced a number of new customer service enhancements to reflect and elevate the new brand of ‘Fiji Airways’.
New name, new logo and livery
Each of the new Airbus A330s swaps the tropical colours of Air Pacific for a brown block with a stylised woodcut typeface and a unique 'Masi' symbol designed by Fijian artist Makereta Matemos.
"We wanted a new and distinctly Fijian symbol and brandmark that would help us best represent the country while also ensuring our planes stand out at some of the world’s busiest international airports" explains Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific’s Managing Director and CEO, "a symbol that would allow us to become the very best ‘Flying Ambassador’ that Fiji could ever have."
On the aircrafts’ exterior, three Masi symbols will represent ‘Fiji Airways’ and complement the new logo.
Central to the airline's brand and also featured prominently on the tail of the new aircraft, the Teteva motif "represents the friendliness of Fijians’ and their deep caring nature", the airline states.
Two more Masi symbols adorn the A330.
The first is Makare, seen here framing the Teteva on the tail (albeit reversed from the image below), evokes "the allure of clear water flowing on a white sandy beach".
The Rova symbol, which decorates the A330's engine nacelles, "represents the warm greeting Fijians extend to visitors".
Inside the Fiji Airways Airbus A330s
The island nation’s new aircraft are fitted out with business class and economy seats designed by Zodiac Aerospace/Weber.
Business class travellers will enjoy a new angled lie-flat bed at the pointy end of the A330, with Weber's 7811 seat providing a far greater degree of comfort at all stages of the journey compared to Air Pacific's current premium seating.
The seats will include inbuilt AC power and USB outlets plus a 15.4 inch LCD screen running Panasonic’s eX2 content-on-demand system.
In economy class, Air Pacific will pack the A330 with Weber’s slim-line model 5751, which has a 7.5 inch recline – comprising of a 6 inch back recline plus 1.5 inches of forward movement for the base.
These seats will also be fitted with AC and USB sockets and a 9 inch Panasonic touchscreen.
The inflight control unit will be fixed to the underside of the seat rather than mounted on the floor, to increase usable floorspace.
Pflieger, seen below next to one of his pilots sampling one of the Weber business class seats (in Weber chocolate rather than Fiji Airways cream), tells Australian Business Traveller that the new seats and inflight entertainment system are “several leaps ahead from what our customer experience today.”
Pflieger says the many changes in store for Air Pacific “will allow us to provide passengers travelling to South Pacific even more reasons to fly with us” while the new Fiji Airways will become “the world’s preferred airline in the South Pacific.”
Sit back and watch this video prepared by Air Pacific to showcase its new aircraft...
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.