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pzurita1
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Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:54 am

After flying 4 segments in the last few days with FJ, I have learnt a little bit about this interesting airline and made me wonder about their mid term strategy.

Currently they are offering flights from LAX and SFO to Australia and NZ connecting in Nandi, Fiji (NAN). They also have a notorious network in the South Pacific flying to countries such as Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and PNG. While I am not claiming these destinations have a large market potential, the idea of linking North American with OZ using NAN seems not that far fetched.

Icelandair did not start with the current network. I remember ten years ago they were only flying to NYC, MCO, YYZ and Halifax. However, they have managed to become a true fortress up in the North Atlantic. In doing so, they have helped a lot in Iceland tourism hype.

So, could FJ be eying this as a chance? Imagine flying to SEA, SMF, SAN, SJO, YEG, YYC, MEX, PHX, LAX, ANC, PDX even CUN and linking this destination with MEL, SYD, OOL, BNE, PER, ADL, the big NZ 4 and the rest of Pacific Islands? Fiji currently receives close to 800K tourists a year. Iceland was around that figure not that long ago.

They currently own 2 A330. They would sure need to increase fleet, but wouldn't it be feasible such a strategy?
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LAXintl
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:14 am

:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.

Also go read those dozen threads about why Hawaii wont be a similar hub either.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:19 am

pzurita1 wrote:
After flying 4 segments in the last few days with FJ, I have learnt a little bit about this interesting airline and made me wonder about their mid term strategy.
Currently they are offering flights from LAX and SFO to Australia and NZ connecting in Nandi, Fiji (NAN). They also have a notorious network in the South Pacific flying to countries such as Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and PNG. While I am not claiming these destinations have a large market potential, the idea of linking North American with OZ using NAN seems not that far fetched.
Icelandair did not start with the current network. I remember ten years ago they were only flying to NYC, MCO, YYZ and Halifax. However, they have managed to become a true fortress up in the North Atlantic. In doing so, they have helped a lot in Iceland tourism hype.
So, could FJ be eying this as a chance? Imagine flying to SEA, SMF, SAN, SJO, YEG, YYC, MEX, PHX, LAX, ANC, PDX even CUN and linking this destination with MEL, SYD, OOL, BNE, PER, ADL, the big NZ 4 and the rest of Pacific Islands? Fiji currently receives close to 800K tourists a year. Iceland was around that figure not that long ago.
They currently own 2 A330. They would sure need to increase fleet, but wouldn't it be feasible such a strategy?

Er... no. I am in Fiji now (Taveuni Island) and, obviously, flew Fiji Airways as well. There is no comparison to flying to/from Iceland and to/from Fiji: the former is a reasonable 5-or-so-hour hop from most of the East Coast of the USA; NAN is closer to 11 hours from the West Coast. KEF to Europe is equally short; NAN to anywhere else adds up fast.

The economics of such long-haul flying are very different than shorter routes; fuel and its load - rather than labor costs - become a determining factor in what it costs to fly. Also keep in mind that, even though the government owns a majority of FJ, Qantas still holds a substantial portion; even if the economics could be made to work (and, for such long-haul flying, it wouldn't) they wouldn't be interested in something the drastically undercuts their own product - and definitely not that of their own discount subsidiary, Jetstar.

Fiji Airways has found a great niche as the "local" for this part of the South Pacific. I am sure they will continue to be successful - if they don't gt to ambitious. Too much ambition has already killed too many airlines.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:19 am

Perhaps a little more exposure in Australia / New Zealand, but some of the destinations in North America you mentioned are questionable at best.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:39 am

Don't see them flying anywhere else than the North American West Coast, due to distances and flight times involved. Maybe they add another destination in that macro-area, YVR/SEA, SJC, or MEX, the latter being a long-shot.

On the other hand, I read that they will be evaluating the B787 and A350 for A330 replacement, anytime soon.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:31 am

I think NZ is the only carrier with a viable Asia pacific hub. They connect - PER,ADL,MEL,SYD,OOL,CNS,MCY,SYD (some seasonal) to LAX,SFO,IAH,YVR,EZE.

Their next phase will see them add a new US route (rumour to be ORD) and see them try and get slots for HKG,SIN,NRT,HND,KIX,DPS,SGN to connect to EZE, Pacific islands and rumoured new South American route.

NZ also has a sizeable local and tourist market, hardly something FJ can compete with combined with completion from HA,QF,DL,VA,UA and options over Asia.

FJ is best left to picking up some Mid to low yielding connecting traffic, and focusing on the high quality excellent boutique airline it is serving Fiji.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:47 am

Nadi, as well as Pago Pago served as a necessary stop in the early 70's, as evidenced by AA's services to Australia/NZ. It's easy now to overfly those destinations, and there aren't a terrible lot of destinations in the South Pacific end to make a hub viable. FJ has it's niche, but that's all it will ever be,
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:48 am

Air New Zealand have a better network.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:55 am

Fiji doesn't share the geographic advantage Iceland does. Sure, it could be used as a stopover between NA and Australia however the traffic between is nothing in comparison to NA-Europe.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:05 am

LAXintl wrote:
:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.


The airline makes good money and when you include Asia it is quite central. I doubt it will ever be the size of Icelandic, but then Icelandic wasn't always the size it is now - LOL.

RL777 wrote:
Fiji doesn't share the geographic advantage Iceland does. Sure, it could be used as a stopover between NA and Australia however the traffic between is nothing in comparison to NA-Europe.


Hmmm. It isn't only about America - or Australia.

http://www.pireport.org/articles/2016/1 ... rists-fiji

"China Is Biggest Source Of Foreign Investment, Tourists To Fiji"

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:41 am

One of Fiji's biggest hold backs is there own doing, there departure tax for NAN is now $200FDJ Around ($140NZD/AU) - pretty much rips them out of people that might of gone via NAN for an stop on the way.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:20 am

LAXintl wrote:
:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.

Also go read those dozen threads about why Hawaii wont be a similar hub either.


Huh? Without commenting on the other issues raised in this thread, NAN is almost exactly on the great circle route between LAX and SYD.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:36 am

SurlyBonds wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.

Also go read those dozen threads about why Hawaii wont be a similar hub either.


Huh? Without commenting on the other issues raised in this thread, NAN is almost exactly on the great circle route between LAX and SYD.


Pretty sure they didn't even read the initial post and assumed the OP was talking about North America - Asia traffic, hence the reference to HNL which is commonly raised in those discussion.

Many reasons FJ won't be "the Icelandair in the South Pacific" but geography isn't really one of them.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:42 am

I used their Singapore flight to go to Sydney with a stopover in Nan for three weeks .. was a real bargain , great airline , fantastic staff ..
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:06 am

No.

Delusional fantasy not even worth debating.

SurlyBonds wrote:
Huh? Without commenting on the other issues raised in this thread, NAN is almost exactly on the great circle route between LAX and SYD.


And with 11-hour distance from LA, which makes it terribly located, and even worse for the many fantasy destinations the OPer mentions.

Iceland works as it sits under a massive traffic flow, and where bulk of markets can be reached on narrow bodies with more equal distances to each side of the Atlantic in addition to having a home market that generates own demand.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:45 am

LAXintl wrote:
:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.

Also go read those dozen threads about why Hawaii wont be a similar hub either.


SurlyBonds wrote:
Huh? Without commenting on the other issues raised in this thread, NAN is almost exactly on the great circle route between LAX and SYD.


Qantas16 wrote:
Pretty sure they didn't even read the initial post and assumed the OP was talking about North America - Asia traffic, hence the reference to HNL which is commonly raised in those discussion.

Many reasons FJ won't be "the Icelandair in the South Pacific" but geography isn't really one of them.


"On the great circle route" is not the definition of "convenient central point," which is what LAXIntl said. He was not speaking about North America - Asia traffic, just acknowledging the reality that Americas - Oceania (and Southeast Asia) traffic is not sufficient to support such an operation.

KEF isn't a successful hub just because it's near the great circle route for North America - Europe routes, but because it is also centrally located such that a tremendous portion of the population of those two continents is within narrowbody range. This allows relatively low-O&D routes to be flown by smaller, efficient aircraft and be propped up by the plethora of connections.

Now, compare that to NAN and it's evident that geography is clearly one of the reasons that FJ won't be "Icelandair in the South Pacific." The population within narrowbody range of NAN is a tiny fraction of that for KEF, and it lies almost entirely to the south and west. Only HNL is a significant population center to the northeast within narrowbody range. This means that to effectively operate NAN as a banked scissor hub akin to FI, FJ would have to rely on a tremendous amount of widebody lift operating 10+ hour flights to/from the Americas.

For sake of reference, NAN-SFO would be the shortest viable route to the North American mainland and is notably longer than the longest FI route from KEF. In fact, NAN-SFO is a few hundred miles longer than NRT-SFO. That clearly changes the cost structure of the operation and requires a large number of considerably more expensive planes to operate.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:03 am

pzurita1 wrote:
They currently own 2 A330. They would sure need to increase fleet, but wouldn't it be feasible such a strategy?



Their website says four

https://www.fijiairways.com/about-fiji- ... our-fleet/
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:04 am

I agree that MidPac stops are no longer necessary which makes HNL, NAN and the like comparatively obsolete in terms of past service. However, we now have small narrow body aircraft doing TATL flights which would lend a hand against the viability of FI's current strategy yet they, and WOW are flourishing. So to me, the argument that people will take the nonstop just because there are aircraft that can make it doesn't entirely hold water. If this were the case, why would anyone choose FI or WOW for LON-NYC/CHI/etc via KEF when they could fly on no less than 3 carriers that offer it nonstop. To me the same thing goes for SFO/LAX-SYD/MEL over HNL or NAN.

Moreover, while it can be argued that TPAC vs TATL distances are far greater there are ever more efficient aircraft being produced that may one day may make HNL or NAN viable TPAC hubs. There very well may come a point where aircraft allow a FJ or HA the ability to operate a long haul flight at prices points that will attract the same type of people who currently use FI or WOW TATL.

I also don't quite get what the obsession with strong correlation between great circle routing and absolute stopover viability? Can anyone name the last long haul flight they were on or tracked that actually flew the great circle route. I have seen plenty of East Asia-USA flights on flightaware and FR24 route a few hundred miles north of Hawaii went the GCR would have them routing closer to Alaska. For example, I've seen UA's SIN-SFO divert to HNL twice before. If the flight was routing over the GCR wouldn't ANC be a more logical divert point assuming distance from planned route is a primary factor when choosing enroute alternates, especially over open ocean?

Even the argument that EUR-USA is a larger market than USA-OZ isn't overly strong considering the amount of capacity crossing the Atlantic and the loads on many of these flights. It would be one thing if every TATL flight were full, making FI/WOW type operations a necessity but alas there is plenty of open capacity. Which again raises the question of how Icelandic carriers can be profitable offering connection routings when aircraft exist that can over fly Iceland.

The only constant in commercial aviation and the global socio-economic marker is that there is no constants. A lot could change in the next 10-20 years. DXB and EK is a prime example of how fast things can change. 10 years ago EK and DXB were barely on anyone's radar.

77H
Last edited by 77H on Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:09 am

mercure1 wrote:
No.

Delusional fantasy not even worth debating.


And yet you add your two cents to the debate.

steex wrote:
"On the great circle route" is not the definition of "convenient central point," which is what LAXIntl said. He was not speaking about North America - Asia traffic, just acknowledging the reality that Americas - Oceania (and Southeast Asia) traffic is not sufficient to support such an operation.


Gosh, Air New Zealand does pretty darn well from the Americas (north and south)/Oceania (and Southeast Asia) despite AKL not being quite such a convenient central point as, say, NAN.

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:40 am

mariner wrote:

RL777 wrote:
Fiji doesn't share the geographic advantage Iceland does. Sure, it could be used as a stopover between NA and Australia however the traffic between is nothing in comparison to NA-Europe.


Hmmm. It isn't only about America - or Australia.

http://www.pireport.org/articles/2016/1 ... rists-fiji

"China Is Biggest Source Of Foreign Investment, Tourists To Fiji"

mariner


Why bring up China when the OP specifically said "linking North American with OZ using NAN" so yes in this case it is about US-A/NZ and yes the number of travelers going from NA to Europe far eclipses the number of NA travelers going to Australia or New Zealand. If you're eluding to NAN possibly being used as a transfer point to not just A/NZ but the rest of Asia as well it is far out of the way from both North and South America to be a realistic possibility.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:08 am

No one mentioned the obvious. Iceland the nation lies on the Great circle route connecting 350 million people on one side to 400 million on the other. Fiji doesn't even come close

There is literally no market between many of the cities the OP mentions.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:28 am

I think the main reason that FJ could never be an FI is because Fiji is very much isolated from the mass population centres that Iceland is lucky to be in the middle of. Aust/NZ with some 30ish million people one one side, and North America some 10ish hours away on the other. Not really going to work out. Having said that, I think there is still some further opportunities for FJ to explore - more ports in Australia (Dunedin, Queesntown seasonally?, Canberra, Hobart) as well as Seattle/Vancouver (they flew there back in the late 90s). FJ has built up a solid and fantastic reputation under its new branding, and I feel there are some opportunities still for them to further explore.
Airport wise, I have no idea what the transit experience at Nadi is like. Could they even feasibly operate a bank of flights without some serious expansion to the current facilities?
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:48 am

Years ago, I flew LAX-SYD on Qantas. Didn't realize the flight I was on had a stop in Nadi. It was right along the route (we flew near Fiji on the nonstop back to the U.S.). So, it is feasible to operate some kind of "scissor hub" in NAN, but the question is to/from where? They'd need additional wide body airplanes and NAN isn't that big of an airport to begin with. The cost to ramp up the necessary infrastructure is high, the cost of doing anything in Fiji is likely high, and the possible destinations are probably limited to places like AKL, SYD, MEL, BNE, HNL, LAX, SFO and maybe YVR (although i don't think the current NAN-HNL-YVR service has ever been very successful.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:34 pm

No, NAN is just too far away to be a realistic connecting hub. 3500nm (realistic range fro 737-8MAX and A320NEO) from NAN gives you Aus, NZ and Hawaii. North America and Asia are out of range. More range means widebodies and the KEF style hub ends there.

NAN: http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=&RANGE=3550nm%40NAN%0D%0A&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=mi&PATH-MINIMUM=&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=ortho

3500nm from KEF gives you all of Europe, 95% US, all of Canada, part of North Africa and Middle East and even most of Siberia.

KEF: http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=&RANGE=3550nm%40KEF%0D%0A&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=mi&PATH-MINIMUM=&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=ortho&MAP-CENTER=KEF
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:39 pm

devron wrote:
pzurita1 wrote:
They currently own 2 A330. They would sure need to increase fleet, but wouldn't it be feasible such a strategy?



Their website says four

https://www.fijiairways.com/about-fiji- ... our-fleet/


Fiji Airways fleet:
1 737-700
4 737-800
3 a330-200
1 a330-400

s.p.a.s. wrote:
Don't see them flying anywhere else than the North American West Coast, due to distances and flight times involved. Maybe they add another destination in that macro-area, YVR/SEA, SJC, or MEX, the latter being a long-shot.

On the other hand, I read that they will be evaluating the B787 and A350 for A330 replacement, anytime soon.


Any a330 replacement wont be happening anytime soon. Fiji airways a330 fleet is relatively new with their first a330 arriving in 2013 coinciding with their re-brand from Air Pacific to Fiji Airways.
As Air Pacific, they had previously ordered 8 B787's a replacements for their 747-400's and their 767, but delays to the 787 resulted in the cancellation of the order and purchase of three a330-200's.

At this point in time the only aircraft orders that Fiji Airways has are for 5 B737 MAX 8's to replace their ageing 737 fleet, with the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in late 2018.
There is a possibility of purchasing another a330-300.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:17 pm

mariner wrote:
steex wrote:
"On the great circle route" is not the definition of "convenient central point," which is what LAXIntl said. He was not speaking about North America - Asia traffic, just acknowledging the reality that Americas - Oceania (and Southeast Asia) traffic is not sufficient to support such an operation.


Gosh, Air New Zealand does pretty darn well from the Americas (north and south)/Oceania (and Southeast Asia) despite AKL not being quite such a convenient central point as, say, NAN.

mariner


You know very well that is a ridiculous comparison. Your statement is akin to saying "gosh, American does pretty darn well in the middle of the USA despite DFW not being quite such a convenient central point as, say, ICT."

KEF works because there is a small market in a great location, AKL works because it's a healthy market and is able to accommodate connections on top of that. NAN has neither of these as it's not a great location nor is it a market remotely near the size of AKL. The entire nation of Fiji has less than 60% the population of the Auckland metro area, and that's not taking into account that AKL serves as the primary access point for the other ~3 million people in New Zealand as well.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:06 pm

steex wrote:
Why bring up China when the OP specifically said "linking North American with OZ using NAN" so yes in this case it is about US-A/NZ and yes the number of travelers going from NA to Europe far eclipses the number of NA travelers going to Australia or New Zealand. If you're eluding to NAN possibly being used as a transfer point to not just A/NZ but the rest of Asia as well it is far out of the way from both North and South America to be a realistic possibility.


Fiji already flies to China, its a (comparatively) huge market for them. The OP didn't mention New Zealand, either, except as a place already flown. It isn't named in his list of potential destinations - "The Big NZ 4" - where are they - is Queenstown on that list, or Hamilton?

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:31 pm

NAN could be a good point between Asia amd Polynesia but the demand is questionable
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:45 pm

FI and WOW, and the ME3, use a 6th Freedom strategy, of which the intermediate location of the home country (the scissor pivot) is important, but not as important as funding. There a multitude of "scissor pivot" points between major commercial markets around the world, but only a handful of successful pivots.

IMO, the real question is... will the Fiji govt permit Chinese investors to control a Fiji flag carrier? The money won't come from NZ or AU, for obvious reasons.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:23 am

SurlyBonds wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
:banghead: Terrible idea.

Take a look at a map. You'll see Fiji is hardly a convenient central point.

Also go read those dozen threads about why Hawaii wont be a similar hub either.


Huh? Without commenting on the other issues raised in this thread, NAN is almost exactly on the great circle route between LAX and SYD.


I suppose they could emulate FI with free stopovers, but doubt it. Why make a stop between LAX-SYD if you don't have to?
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:19 am

c933103 wrote:
NAN could be a good point between Asia amd Polynesia but the demand is questionable


The demand is only questionable if you're looking for an airline the size and scale of Icelandic.

If you're looking for a smaller airline but with the same concept, then I think the demand is there. $84.5 million profit (2016) for an airline with quite a small fleet ain't bad.

AAvgeek744 wrote:
I suppose they could emulate FI with free stopovers, but doubt it. Why make a stop between LAX-SYD if you don't have to?


The thing is people do want to stopover in Fiji - not everyone, not every time, but enough of them for the airline to make good money. And while there is some lower end tourism, very little of it is the one Coca-Cola two straws crowd - and there are also some very high end hotels.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Hotel_Rev ... sland.html

The appeal of the South Pacific as a tourist destination is very strong. Bali H'ai and all that.

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:01 pm

mariner wrote:
c933103 wrote:
NAN could be a good point between Asia amd Polynesia but the demand is questionable


The demand is only questionable if you're looking for an airline the size and scale of Icelandic.

If you're looking for a smaller airline but with the same concept, then I think the demand is there. $84.5 million profit (2016) for an airline with quite a small fleet ain't bad.

- Indeed, it is possible to run a smaller scale airlines that work base on connection
- And when Fiji deestablish their (office?) in Taipei earlier this year, people over Taipei have also mentioned its significance as the only way for them to connect to various allied state in Pacific by air, which also indicate the success of Fiji Airways in this role,
- However, profit is not a good metric in measuring their success as a connection airlines as profits could also be from O&D
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:32 pm

Well actually Fiji Airways sorta made an attempt at this, the original rebranding as 'Air Pacific' in the 70's can be seen in part of them wanting to be the airline covering the Pacific and serving many of the Pacific islands. But the recent name change back to Fiji Airways would suggest they have reverted their focus back to serving Fiji.

While Fiji Airways does provide some limited connections for passengers transiting, none of these flights are necessarily scheduled or planned around connecting passengers, they are an option as a result of the existing services.

As others have stated, Fiji isn't in a prime location, too close to Australia and New Zealand with other dominant players in the market, and too far away from other major markets such as Asia and the Americas.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:26 pm

747m8te wrote:
Well actually Fiji Airways sorta made an attempt at this, the original rebranding as 'Air Pacific' in the 70's can be seen in part of them wanting to be the airline covering the Pacific and serving many of the Pacific islands. But the recent name change back to Fiji Airways would suggest they have reverted their focus back to serving Fiji.


That was all tied up in the the moves to independence by the various island nations - the concept of a "unified Pacific" was very beguiling and strongly encouraged by the UN and subsidiary organisations like the World Bank. At one point, several of the newly independent or about to be tiny nations held shares in the Air Pacific.

It didn't last, just as the dream of governmental unity among the islands didn't last, it was all too hard, too fast. I'm not sure that it was even desirable, except to economists. "Independence" was a powerful word in the islands, they took it seriously with issues of local "mana" (pride/prestige) and they dropped away from the united airline. Fifi became the prime shareholder with Qantas as the second largest. There was a whole lot of shillying and shallying around this time - I thought Samoa had the key, when Polynesian fell on evil financial times, the Samoa Government went into the deal for Polynesian Blue (Virgin Blue/Virgin Australia) that gave Same its own airline, but run by the Australians.

But it wasn't to be, for all the obvious and predictable (and historic) reasons, that hasn't lasted and Samoa cut loose from the Virgin Group (Virgin Samoa) and pulled the old Polynesian Airlines out of the grave - it starts flying to NZ again in November:.

http://sobserver.ws/en/27_08_2017/local ... -fears.htm

"Minister downplays Poly Airlines fears"

The fears are the old fears about Polynesian - that some will see the airline as a piggy bank for their own pockets and too many will expect freebies often in the front cabin. "Gift giving" is a tradition as old as the islands. In New Zealand it is called koha.

However, on the bright side, there is talk of a deal between Samoa and Fiji:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/ ... ji-airways

"Samoa joins forces with Fiji Airways"

And supposedly Tonga wants in on the act.

http://www.sobserver.ws/en/24_08_2017/l ... lished.htm

"Tonga-Samoa ties re-established"

They do seem to be taking it more carefully this time - or I hope they are - and that leads to your second point.

747m8te wrote:
While Fiji Airways does provide some limited connections for passengers transiting, none of these flights are necessarily scheduled or planned around connecting passengers, they are an option as a result of the existing services.


Which is, for my money, the way they should be doing it. The old dream of Polynesian United Airlines - Air Pacific - proved to be not the way to go, and now they are following a far more sensible path.

I guess the difficulty for some a.netters is that they think of the island governances as established and stable, which in some cases they are (Tokelau has got it made - it's voted to remain part of NZ) but there are still local customs, locals issues which can be at odds with some western (that is first world) practice - or not. Once when I was flying out of Nadi (Air Pacific days) there was a blockade of the airport by one of the Christian groups who felt we shouldn't be flying on a Sunday.

It is all going to take time, not just to sort out the airline(s) but to sort out the national relationships involving those airlines. Fiji only returned to parliamentary democracy with the election in 2014.

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:12 pm

^^
Your last sentence reminds me that it must be nearly getting time for another coup.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:43 pm

What an oddly hostile response to a reasonable question. And yes Mercure1, it is worth debating.

Most replies appear to assume that the "Icelandair of the South Pacific" need be almost identical to the actual Icelandair in fleet, size and reach. But not so.

It's perfectly conceivable to imagine a scissor operation with widebodies to North America linking to narrowbodies to Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands. Air NZ effectively operates a scissorhub at AKL now. Yes on a much larger scale but that doesn't negate FJ from pursuing a smaller scale operation.

Arguably they already are - common to see FJ advertising for MEL-NAN-LAX/SFO in competition with non-stop and via AKL. And really, how many here foresaw Icelandair becoming what it is today?

It's a funny thing about this site I've noticed lately - this attitude that how things are now will always be how things are, and upstarts intruding on legacy carrier space should back off and mind their business, inevitably smaller and in less threatening ways. Well, things do change and often quickly. For all we know, Boeing's 797 could present the very opportunity the OP has suggested. Cue outrage.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:12 pm

aerokiwi wrote:
What an oddly hostile response to a reasonable question. And yes Mercure1, it is worth debating.

Most replies appear to assume that the "Icelandair of the South Pacific" need be almost identical to the actual Icelandair in fleet, size and reach. But not so.

It's perfectly conceivable to imagine a scissor operation with widebodies to North America linking to narrowbodies to Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands. Air NZ effectively operates a scissorhub at AKL now. Yes on a much larger scale but that doesn't negate FJ from pursuing a smaller scale operation.

Arguably they already are - common to see FJ advertising for MEL-NAN-LAX/SFO in competition with non-stop and via AKL. And really, how many here foresaw Icelandair becoming what it is today?

It's a funny thing about this site I've noticed lately - this attitude that how things are now will always be how things are, and upstarts intruding on legacy carrier space should back off and mind their business, inevitably smaller and in less threatening ways. Well, things do change and often quickly. For all we know, Boeing's 797 could present the very opportunity the OP has suggested. Cue outrage.

Distance from Fiji to most cities on Pacific coast on both Asian and American side are like 5000nm. With the expected range of about 4000nm for the 797, it's probably not enought to them. Although after PIP improvements it might grown to gain sufficient range and become what would be ideal to them.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:09 am

zkncj wrote:
One of Fiji's biggest hold backs is there own doing, there departure tax for NAN is now $200FDJ Around ($140NZD/AU) - pretty much rips them out of people that might of gone via NAN for an stop on the way.

:checkmark: How much cheaper could FJ operate a flight compared to, say Qantas, Air new Zealand, Virgin Australia, or - especially - Jetstar? Take that savings... but add $188.50 to the ticket price for Nadi's departure tax. That pretty much stops any chance of a big discount on your flight...

aerokiwi wrote:
It's perfectly conceivable to imagine a scissor operation with widebodies to North America linking to narrowbodies to Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands. Air NZ effectively operates a scissorhub at AKL now. Yes on a much larger scale but that doesn't negate FJ from pursuing a smaller scale operation.


Nadi is already, for many destinations, a "scissor hub" linking Australia and NZ to many of the Pacific Islands, but to expand beyond that - meaning flights beyond 4-5 hours in stage length - becomes very problematic. It a now discount haven - nor can it be. And, again, QF's interest in FJ - I believe it is 46% - means a large stakeholder in the airline isn't going to support a plot to undercut its own flights and those of its own discount carrier, Jetstar.

"Conceivable" and "practical" are in opposite areas of the dictionary... and on opposite sides of this proposition, as well.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:46 am

Looking at the map of Nadi airport destination..there are some close destinations that they don't fly to, like Niue, but then place like Niue only have like a thousand inhabitant and probably not too many travellers to those places from Niue either. However, to be a connector in South Pacific probably it would need to link those places at least 1x weekly?
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:49 am

c933103 wrote:
NAN could be a good point between Asia amd Polynesia but the demand is questionable


Frequency is key, AKL already has connectivity to the South Pacific more than any other airport with some routes being up-to 3x daily. NAN couldn't provide that contectivity, as there isn't the local demand to help it.

AKL has:
NAN: NZ,FJ
APW: NZ,VA
TPU: NZ,VA
RAR: NZ,VA,JQ
PPT: NZ,TN
IUE: NZ
VLI: NF
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:13 am

zkncj wrote:
c933103 wrote:
NAN could be a good point between Asia amd Polynesia but the demand is questionable


I don't think Fiji is looking for local demand on any of its routes. The total population of Fiji is fewer than a million - fewer than the population of NZ, fewer than the population of Auckland alone - and quite a lot of those people live on the out islands, with no great desire to go on vacation to unspoilt tropical beaches- LOL - they're already there.

So the airline - like every other airline in the world has to work with what it's got, which, apart from breaches and warm weather, isn't a lot.

Those locals who do leave are largely the Fijian Indians who won't be coming back much - they leave more permanently looking for work. It isn't like Rarotonga and the Cook Islands whose people are New Zealand citizens and can come and go at will to work and live in NZ.

Fiji - the state - understands that it is the job of the airline to bring tourists to the islands and the airline seems to be doing that quite well. It isn't the size of Air NZ - and I doubt it ever will be because it doesn't have the base population - so I think it's a bit weird to compare the two. Air NZ has - what - five or six times the size of fleet?

I wonder why it is so important to some a.netters to bring other airlines down?

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:17 am

northstardc4m wrote:
No, NAN is just too far away to be a realistic connecting hub. 3500nm (realistic range fro 737-8MAX and A320NEO) from NAN gives you Aus, NZ and Hawaii. North America and Asia are out of range. More range means widebodies and the KEF style hub ends there.

NAN: http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=&RANGE=3550nm%40NAN%0D%0A&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=mi&PATH-MINIMUM=&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=ortho

3500nm from KEF gives you all of Europe, 95% US, all of Canada, part of North Africa and Middle East and even most of Siberia.

KEF: http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=&RANGE=3550nm%40KEF%0D%0A&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=mi&PATH-MINIMUM=&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=ortho&MAP-CENTER=KEF

Your range circles show why the NEO and MAX will do wonders for Iceland air.

Fiji could be something of a hub, but that requires a North American network that isn't there and a cost structure better than connecting via Air New Zealand or another option. I just haven't seen Fiji pursue such a plan.

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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:03 am

pzurita1 wrote:
After flying 4 segments in the last few days with FJ, I have learnt a little bit about this interesting airline and made me wonder about their mid term strategy.

Currently they are offering flights from LAX and SFO to Australia and NZ connecting in Nandi, Fiji (NAN). They also have a notorious network in the South Pacific flying to countries such as Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and PNG. While I am not claiming these destinations have a large market potential, the idea of linking North American with OZ using NAN seems not that far fetched.

Icelandair did not start with the current network. I remember ten years ago they were only flying to NYC, MCO, YYZ and Halifax. However, they have managed to become a true fortress up in the North Atlantic. In doing so, they have helped a lot in Iceland tourism hype.

So, could FJ be eying this as a chance? Imagine flying to SEA, SMF, SAN, SJO, YEG, YYC, MEX, PHX, LAX, ANC, PDX even CUN and linking this destination with MEL, SYD, OOL, BNE, PER, ADL, the big NZ 4 and the rest of Pacific Islands? Fiji currently receives close to 800K tourists a year. Iceland was around that figure not that long ago.

They currently own 2 A330. They would sure need to increase fleet, but wouldn't it be feasible such a strategy?
think FJ have 4 x A330's, 3 x A330-200's & 1 x A330-300. I think 1st off, FJ need to link MEL & NAN with a daylight flight. At present all MEL/NAN flights are red eyes, which don't connect with any LAX or SFO flights, except for a few extra flights in DEC-JAN, which depart NAN for SFO at 0700.

Think NAN is in a perfect location, much better than AKL for services to North America. Any A330 flying OZ/USA mainland nonstop would be severley weight restricted.

FJ did fly to YVR with a 737-700 I think it was via HNL, but it was a long way in a narrow body.

Can see FJ when they get more long haul aircraft, increasing frequencies to SFO & maybe going back to YVR, but they seem to have an Asian focus, which makes perfect sense. They fly to HKG & SIN. Think they codeshare with CX on some flights to China & Europe. Not sure who they codeshare with beyond SIN.

FJ have also flown to CBR & OOL, but both were short lived. Think they were the 1st international flight out of CBR. No reason why CBR couldn't be reintroduced. If CBR/NAN connected with NAN/LAX or NAN/SFO it would surely beat having to change terminals at SYD, BNE or MEL.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:04 am

with QF being a minority shareholder in FJ, don't think they have much say in the FJ network.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:02 pm

zkncj wrote:
One of Fiji's biggest hold backs is there own doing, there departure tax for NAN is now $200FDJ Around ($140NZD/AU) - pretty much rips them out of people that might of gone via NAN for an stop on the way.

Fiji departure tax doesn't apply for stops under 72 hours do many people stop for 2 nights check it out & if thry like it (who couldn't like the extremely relaxed attitude of the plsce?) they ho back msybe just tty o fiji
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:03 pm

Typos above. Not sure how to c orrect ?
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:32 pm

I think there are untapped opportunities for FJ. Particularly if they think more carefully about their marketing and their product. And offer consistency of delivery. But I don't see them becoming Icelandair 2. The geography is not in their favour. And they have two big brothers (NZ and QF) who will not allow that to happen in what is already a thin market. The connectivity to the islands message above is simplistic - there is some demand but it will always be small compared to the economy of scale that Icelandair have. So in short, I can see FJ growing but at a measured pace. China is possible but - as multiple airlines have found - it takes about 10 years to achieve a market presence in China and FJ doesn't have the resources that its big bothers have. Growing NAN-LAX and NAN - another west coast point and NAN-HNL slightly, and NAN-HKG, NAN-NRT, NAN-SIN for connections to and from India is about all I can see at the mo. Maybe a toe hold in NAN-PVG. So an A330 fleet of about 4-5, maybe 6 is going to cut it for the foreseeable future. Anything more bold would be risky IMHO.
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:15 pm

NZ321 wrote:
I think there are untapped opportunities for FJ

I agree - in particular, I see NRT and YVR as the next logical long-haul destinations from NAN.

In particular, I see NAN - NRT as having more potential than NAN - PVG or NAN - PEK, because:

- FJ's partnerships with HX and CX can serve the Mainland Chinese market efficiently through HKG, without the need for FJ to send its limited metal there
- The Japanese market has more awareness of the South Pacific, and it has been able to sustain various flights like NRT - NOU (SB) and NRT - PPT (TN)
- FJ served NRT before, with a less efficient 767-300ER - its new fleet is more efficient, and would improve the economics of this flight compared to then

FJ seem to be quite cosy with oneworld, having code-shares with AA, CX and QF - therefore, JL might code-share on any NAN - NRT flight too.

Aside from these, there might be limited potential to serve PER (given the aligned QF FFP base there) and/or South America. The latter is highly unlikely in the near-term, but as the middle classes in that continent grow in the next 10-15 years, LA's current SCL - IPC - PPT flight might be able to be challenged.

Image

On the short-haul front, I see secondary Australia and New Zealand as having some potential for FJ, served on a seasonal basis only.

In particular, CBR, HLZ and PMR have all seen flights to NAN before (more than 10 years ago). With the price of oil low, FJ's fleet becoming more efficient, and strong economic growth and wealth creation in both Australia and New Zealand in the last 10 years, perhaps it is time for FJ to give these markets a go, again?

As already noted above, these flights could connect to FJ's various North American services too (HNL, LAX, SFO, and potentially YVR).

Image

Finally, this is highly unlikely, but just for all you dreamers out there, here is a potential scenario where FJ truly becomes the "Icelandair of the South Pacific:"

Image

:stirthepot: :stirthepot: :stirthepot:

Cheers,

C.
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:46 am

FJ (if they have the equipment-aircraft can't be in 2 places at once) should look at CBR/NAN as long as it connects with NAN/LAX. Transferring at NAN is much easier than anywhere else. They could start with as few as twice a week CBR/NAN. NOTE: no silly curfew at CBR. CNS rather than TSV could probably sustain 2 flights a week, as presume most CNS pax wanting to go to U.S. mainland currently go via AKL or BNE or SYD. Inbound into CNS from USA accesses the great barrier reef & pax could fly out of BNE, SYD or MEL with FJ. Currently ex MEL requires a minimum of day in NAN, as all FJ flights MEL/NAN are red eyes, with an odd exception(FJ found some spare 737 time in Jan & are operating a daylight MEL/NAN flight once a week I think it is)
 
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Re: Could Fiji Airways become the Icelandair in the South Pacific?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:21 am

I recall TN doing the hub and spoke thing out of PPT. Did it myself a couple of times LAX-PPT-AKL. Don't know if they still do. In some ways NAN is better situated to fly long haul to North American and Asia connecting to medium-short haul to all of Oceana as shown in the last map from planemanofnz. If it works for TN, it should work better for FJ. And the people in Fiji may be the nicest on earth.

The one thing I hated about LAX-PPT-AKL was that I couldn't get any decent sleep because halfway all their planes met in PPT, everyone tramped in to the terminal for 2 hours, then all the planes (5 x A340?) loaded up and continued. A very unpleasant experience. I paid more for LAX-AKL non-stop but I could sleep the whole way.

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