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Fiji Airways Celebrates 70 Years of Flight

Today, Fiji Airways celebrated their 70th anniversary with a virtual meeting of team members from around Fiji and global offices. The airline's first flight took off on September 1st, 1951, with a De Havilland Dragon Rapide flight from Nausori to Drasa Airport near Lautoka.

Fiji Airways Marks 70th Anniversary on September 1st, 2021 - Courtesy Fiji Airways

On Wednesday (September 1st, 2021), Fiji Airways, the national airline of Fiji, commemorated their 70th anniversary. The occasion was marked by a virtual meeting of the airline’s team members from around Fiji and from the company’s global offices, where the staff reminisced about the airline’s 70-year history, and rallied around their commitment to its post-pandemic survival. Fiji Airways’ first flight took place on September 1st, 1951, as Founder Harry Gatty’s De Havilland Dragon Rapide departed Fiji’s Luvuluvu airstrip in Nausori for the bumpy one-hour flight to Drasa Airport near Lautoka. From this historic flight, Fiji Airways has grown into an international airline with 20 jet and turboprop aircraft with an extended network of 108 global destinations.

DH.89 Dragon Rapide (G-AEML) at Kemble Airport Open Day, Gloucestershire, England, 9th September 2007. Built in 1936 – Photo Credit: Adrian Pingstone

In today’s announcement, Fiji Airways’ Chairman, Mr, Rajesh Punja, said,

“Fiji Airways has consistently broken new ground for 70 years, creating a bridge for Fiji to the world and the world to Fiji. COVID has grounded commercial flying temporarily, but cannot wipe our 70-year history. We thank our predecessors, our people, and partners old and new for their commitment and support over the years and we prepare to resume flying, hopefully in just a few months, and lead Fiji’s tourism and economic recovery.”

Also commenting on the airline’s 70th anniversary, Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Mr. Andre Viljoen, said,

“While we are not celebrating our 70th anniversary, or FJ 70 as we call it, with fanfare, we are commemorating the occasion quietly to recognise how far we have come as an airline. Our grit and determination to survive and thrive, as we have done for 70 years, is the foundation on which our airline will return to the skies post-pandemic.

“The trailblazing achievements of our founder Harold Gatty created a legacy that has lasted seven consecutive decades. The commitment and resolve of our people, shareholders and partners will see us power through for another seven decades and more. We must acknowledge the critical and ongoing support we have had from the Fijian Government, especially our Prime Minister and Line Minister the Attorney General. We thank them for their unwavering commitment to the National Airline. Of course, we are eternally grateful to the people of Fiji for their faith in Fiji Airways throughout the 70 years.

“The world has changed and there will be a new normal for travel when most countries re-open their borders and we are ready for it. Through our Travel Ready programme, Fiji Airways has attained two distinct awards that will give confidence to our customers when commercial flying resumes.

“We are the only airline in the Australia-Pacific region, and one of only a handful in the world, to achieve a Skytrax 5-Star COVID Safety rating, as well as the highest “DIAMOND” or Hospital Grade certification for APEX Health Safety powered by Simpliflying. Our flight schedules will be released immediately following an official announcement by Government which outlines border requirements. One of these will undoubtedly be that visitors must be fully vaccinated; a position Fiji Airways strongly supports.”

Fiji Airways links more Pacific Island countries than any other airline and offers direct service to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, as well as regionally to Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu. Through oneworld and bilateral airline partnerships, Fiji Airways offers connectivity to 108 global destinations.

Source: Fiji Airways


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