Posts tagged Fiji Airways

PM Bainimarama’s Speech at the Arrival of the Third Airbus A330

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

This is the welcoming ceremony for the third and final of the Airbus A330s that will form the backbone of our rebranded national airline.

No-one will ever forget the wave of excitement that swept over the whole country when the first – Island of Taveuni – was delivered in March.

Or the pride we all felt when the second – Island of Namuka-i-Lau – arrived in May and we honoured the home island of our great designer, Makareta Matemosi.

Far from being the arrival of just another plane, today’s event is equally important, if not more so.

Because I am very proud to be here with the people of Yasawa-i-rara to welcome the new aircraft that bears the name of their island home.

Less than a year ago, I led a mission to the Yasawas as we evaluated the damage caused to the country by Hurricane Evan.

As you know, we were miraculously spared any loss of life, largely because of the work that had gone into our hurricane preparations.

But the sight that greeted us in Yasawa-i-rara and like other parts in Fiji was, still heartbreaking.

Many houses were destroyed, others had lost their roofs and a great many others were badly damaged.

The Bukuna District School and the Yasawa Secondary School were also destroyed, along with the Methodist Church and the wharf.

But what Hurricane Evan hadn’t destroyed was the spirit of the people of Fiji including those in Yasawa-i-rara.

And that spirit fortified and inspired me at a very challenging time for me as Prime Minister and for the rest of the Government.

Instead of despair, there were smiles. Instead of a defeatist attitude, there was a determination to rebuild.

It is therefore with much pleasure personally and I am sure I speak on behalf of all Fijians that we welcome the naming of our third airbus as Yasawa-i-rara to symbolise the spirit we all aspire to – treating natural disasters as setbacks, not defeats.

Yasawa-i-rara is no longer just a small and isolated place in Fiji. It is a name emblazoned on a state-of-the-art aircraft that will be seen by millions of people at the great airports of the Asia Pacific.

And over the coming years, it will fly millions of visitors to Fiji and bring millions of our fellow Fijians home.

This is the first time the Yasawas has been recognised in this way and I think it is long overdue.

Because we also want to commemorate the contribution of all the people of the Yasawa group of islands to our  important industry and revenue earner – tourism.

From the early days of tourism in Fiji, the Yasawas have been an important and attractive destination.

It’s not just the beauty of the islands themselves but the people of the Yasawas who make them special.

On behalf of every Fijian, I want to thank every Yasawan for your role in contributing to our economy, for opening your islands and your hearts to the world, for being so much a part of our new slogan – “Fiji, where happiness finds you”.

So welcome Yasawa-i-rara from the Airbus factory in France. Welcome to your new home.

In closing, I would again like to thank the Chairman and Board of Fiji Airways for turning the airline around and making it profitable again. And to the committed staff who have embraced a new spirit in the airline and made the successful transition to Fiji Airways.

I especially want to take this opportunity to welcome the new Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Stefan Pichler, who comes to us with an impressive record of achievement in the airline industry.

Stefan, on behalf of the Fijian people, we’re pleased to have you at the controls.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at the conclusion of this function, I’ll be going across the tarmac for the groundbreaking ceremony for the commencement of work to upgrade the Nadi International Airport.

As with our investment in these new planes and the new Fiji Airways, it’s all about investing in Fiji’s future, using our resources to modernise and keep pace with the rest of the world. To be proactive not reactive.

I’ll be saying a lot more about this when I announce the 2014 Budget on Friday. But it’s all about putting Fiji first and never being content with being second best.

We may be a relatively small economy in global terms, but we intend to grow. We may be a relatively small country but we have big plans for ourselves and our children.

Building on our achievements of the past few years, we have a vision of Fiji as encapsulated in our new Constitution – a Fiji which is a clever nation, a fairer nation, a nation in which every child has the same chance to get on in life, a nation standing proud and tall.

This is a great day to be a Fijian, but even better days lie ahead.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.


Holiday Fiji: “Come to Fiji”, Prime Minister Urges Russian Holidaymakers

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has urged more Russians to consider Fiji as a holiday destination at a tourism forum in Moscow attended by travel company representatives of both countries.

The gathering was organised by Rosie Holidays – which has already developed ties with the Russian market – and was attended by representatives from several prominent Fijian resorts.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said there were great opportunities to increase the number of Russians visiting Fiji. A mutual visa exemption agreement – signed between Fiji and Russia earlier in the day – meant that Russians planning their holidays no longer faced delays in obtaining a visa and could now just grab their passports and go.

The Prime Minister also urged Russian travel agents to send their clients to Fiji via Hong Kong, where their Fijian experience could begin before they reached the country on the new Fiji Airways and its state-of-the-art A 330s.

“As you’ll learn, Fiji has a host of activities to offer. We are also a growing destination for Russian super yachts. And if you want to get married or go on a honeymoon, Fiji is where you need to go, with some of the most romantic locations on earth. We are confident that once you visit us, you too will understand the truth of our phrase, – Fiji where the happiness finds you,” Prime Minister Bainimarama added.

PM Bainimarama’s Speech at the Arrival of Second Fiji Airways A330 Aircraft

Distinguished guests,

My fellow Fijians.

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

Two months ago, I stood here with many of you to welcome the first of the new Fiji Airways A 330s – Island of Taveuni.

It was a day we will never forget because of the surge of pride that flowed through every Fijian.

As the new plane flew low over our islands, cities, towns and villages, tens of thousands of people came out to welcome it.

The sense of excitement was amazing. It was a special day to be Fijian.

When they gazed up, people could see Fiji Airways in big bold letters – the name of our country on a brand new wide-bodied plane, the first we’ve ever owned.

And they could see something spectacular – a design that speaks to all of us – the masi livery created not by some fancy design studio overseas but by one of our own – an ordinary Fijian by the name of Makareta Matamosi.

Like every Fijian, I was tremendously impressed and inspired by her creation.

How wonderful that this is the image of Fiji that these new planes will take to airports around the world.

How wonderful that Makareta’s creation has been hailed as brilliant by so many design experts around the world.

Makareta, vinaka vakalevu. You did us proud. You did your country proud and you did your home island proud.

Which is why today we welcome “ Island of Namuka-i-lau”.

As you all know, Air Pacific has a tradition of naming its aircraft after islands and this tradition continues with Fiji Airways.

And so it was that I suggested to the Air Pacific Board that we name this second Airbus after Makareta’s island in honour of her work.

This afternoon, before it landed here in Nadi, the plane flew low over Namuka-i-Lau to give the people there a closer look.

We can be sure it was a thrill they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Because now Namuka-i- Lau isn’t just a small obscure island in Lau but the name on a state- of- the- art aircraft that millions of people will see at airports around the world.

Of course, the arrival of our second A330 can never be as exciting as the first. But I believe this is equally special because we are reminded of the richness of our culture and the wonderful creativity of artisans like Makareta who keep it alive and display it to the world.

The plane itself is the second of three that have been designed for our use from the ground up.

They are hugely important for the new Fiji Airways and for every Fijian – because they are destined to bring millions of visitors to our shores in the coming years to underpin the strength of our economy and ensure the nation’s prosperity.

They are also flying billboards for Fiji – a message to the world that we are open for business and want to share our beautiful surroundings, our culture and our hospitality with the peoples of other lands.

“Fiji, where happiness finds you”. Fiji Airways, the best way to get to Fiji because the Fijian experience begins before you arrive.

As I’ve said before, my Government encourages competition as the best way to keep airfares affordable for ordinary people. But that doesn’t stop me from urging every Fijian to support their national airline, to keep their dollars in Fiji and safeguard the jobs of Fijian workers.

With these new planes, Fiji Airways gains a new ability to compete against its rivals.

Now that the second is here, the airline will be starting its A330 service to Sydney in a couple of weeks, to add to those already operating to Auckland, Brisbane and Hong Kong. And soon, the new aircraft will begin flying to Los Angeles, with extra services coming on stream later in the year when the third and final Airbus arrives and our 747s are retired.

Later next month, Air Pacific formally becomes Fiji Airways. The new branding will be unveiled across its network, cabin staff will begin wearing their new uniforms and higher standards of in-flight services will be introduced.

When that happens, Fiji Airways will really begin to soar – confident, competitive and eager to find new routes and opportunities.

I want to thank the management and staff of Air Pacific for the way in which they’ve worked together over the past couple of years to reverse the airline’s fortunes.

There’s a new spirit in the airline as workers begin to share in the profits that are flowing from its better performance. It is spearheading the labour reforms that my Government wants in the interests of all Fijians. Far from reducing workers’ rights – as some claim – we are empowering them by giving them a financial stake in the airline’s success. A stake in the future.

The evidence of that new spirit is all around us today – a day to remember, a day to be proud of our national airline, a day to be proud to be Fijian.

We welcome the “Island of Namuka-i-lau”.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Fiji Airways – Bainimarama Commends National Airline for Spearheading Reforms

The hard work undertaken by staff at Fiji’s national airline, Air Pacific, did not go unnoticed today when they received the second A330 aircraft at the Air Pacific hangar in Nadi today.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama paid tribute to the hard work undertaken by the staff and management over recent years to “reverse the airline’s fortunes”.

“There’s a new spirit in the airline as workers begin to share in the profits that are flowing from its better performance. It is spearheading the labour reforms that my Government wants in the interests of all Fijians. Far from reducing workers’ rights – as some claim – we are empowering them by giving them a financial stake in the airline’s success. A stake in the future,” PM Bainimarama said.

The Prime Minister expressed his confidence in further success when the airline officially becomes Fiji Airways on the 26th of June.

“The new branding will be unveiled across its network, cabin staff will begin wearing their new uniforms and higher standards of in-flight services will be introduced,” the Prime Minister said.

“When that happens, Fiji Airways will really begin to soar – confident, competitive and eager to find new routes and opportunities.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama to Receive Second Fiji Airways Airbus

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, will travel to France on Monday at the invitation of Airbus and Air Pacific to receive the second of the new Fiji Airways Airbus A330s.

The plane – which has been named Namuka-i-Lau – will be formally handed over at a ceremony at the Airbus factory in Toulouse later in the week.

Namuka-i-Lau is the home island of the designer of the new Fiji Airways masi insignia, Makareta Matemosi.

It was at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that the second Airbus carry the name of her island as a tribute to the quality of her work, which has been acclaimed by international design experts.

The aircraft will be making its delivery flight to Fiji via Los Angeles to enable the airline to hold a promotional event for the US tourism industry.

The event – at Los Angeles International Airport LAX – will take place on Tuesday, May 21st.

Namuka-i-Lau will then cross the Pacific for an arrival welcome function at Nadi Airport on Thursday, May 23rd.

The Prime Minister will return separately to Fiji after the handover ceremony on Monday, May 20th in time to receive the aircraft

Fiji PM Bainimarama Says New Airbus Will Be the Pride of Fiji’s Fleet

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Visits Airbus Factory in Toulouse

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Fiji Day Speech on Air Pacific’s Transformation to Fiji Airways

My fellow Fijians:

On this, our Independence Day, I can think of nothing that symbolises our nation’s independence more than our national airline.

It carries our flag and the renowned hospitality of our people to some of the great cities of our region – Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong.

And now it will carry our nation’s name, as Air Pacific becomes Fiji Airways next year.

It is a matter for great national pride to have our own airline bearing the name of our nation, carrying Fijians to the world and global visitors to our shores.

We regard Air Pacific as an essential industry because it is. And not just to our economy, which depends on the visitors it brings to our country.

It is essential to the sense of pride and independence that we are celebrating on this day.

I happen to be one of the many Fijians old enough to remember the original Fiji Airways and the small planes that used to rumble across our skies.

The airline was founded in the early 1950s by Harold Gatty – the Australian aviation pioneer – and was our first rapid link to many of our islands within Fiji and then to our neighbours.

The first Fiji Airways flight was between Suva and Lautoka in 1951. Now, we think nothing of flying to the US, Hong Kong or Australia.

The first Fiji Airways plane was made largely of canvass – a De Havilland Rapide – and the pilot used a compass to get his bearings.

Next year, we start taking delivery of three giant Airbuses that fly by computer and navigate using satellites.

The child in all of us thrills at the advances in aviation in our lifetimes. The Fijian in all of us thrills at the idea that our own airline will soon carry our name to the great cities of the Asia Pacific.

The airline business is notoriously cutthroat and the airlines of many of our island neighbours have fallen victim along the way.

It is a cause for great national pride that Fiji’s is still flying and I want to say a few words tonight about why Air Pacific is still in the air when others are not.

Running a successful airline these days is all about being as efficient as possible, maximising yields, seizing opportunities and keeping a ruthless eye on costs.

When my Government took office, Air Pacific badly needed reforming. We especially had to run the company more efficiently, free up its labour market, and alter certain workpractices.

It was a difficult exercise, but we took the hard decisions necessary to keep Air Pacific in the air and its workers in their jobs.

I want to pay special tribute tonight to the management team led by Dave Pfleiger, an American citizen who we have come to regard as an honorary Fijian for his dedication and skill. Vakalevu Dave.

Assisted by the board of directors chaired by Nalin Patel, Air Pacific has risen to new heights. Air Pacific has turned an alarming loss into a highly encouraging profit and given a lesson in efficiency to airlines many times its size.

I also want to pay tribute to the men and women who keep Air Pacific in the air – the pilots, cabin crew, maintenance workers, support staff, baggage handlers, reservations staff – all of the people needed to keep a great airline flying.

You do our airline proud and you do our nation proud and we thank you all for your service.

The reform process at Air Pacific has been a long journey. But you have faced the challenges with courage and fortitude. No jobs have been lost. In fact, more will be added as our new aircraft start coming on stream next year. And for the first time, those reforms include a profit sharing scheme for airline staff.

The harder you work and the more successful the new Fiji Airways becomes, the more you will earn. This is the most basic of workers’ rights, to obtain a fair share of any company’s profits. And this is what our reforms are delivering.

Tonight, we celebrate the launch of the new Fiji Airways and unveil how its new planes will look.

It’s a matter of great pride to me that the design came from within Fiji, by a woman named Makareta Matemosi. Her masi design will be emblazoned on state-of-the-art jets landing at airports across the Asia Pacific. Vinakavakalevu Makareta for creating a design that all Fijians can be proud of.

Finally, I want to say something to the most important people of all – the customers of the new Fiji Airways. My government supports competition. You always have achoice when it comes to deciding which airline you fly.  But as your Prime Minister, I appeal to you to consider making the new Fiji Airways your first choice whenever you travel.

It is our national airline. It belongs largely to us. It is a symbol of our nation and its determination to succeed.  Fly the airline with the masi on it.

I wish the new Fiji Airways, all who fly on it, and my fellow Fijians the very best on this historic day.

Thank you. Vinaka vakalevu.