Fiji Airways receives first Boeing 737 MAX
Fiji Airways has taken delivery of their first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on order, DQ-FAB, marking the beginning of their fleet renewal and expansion plans.
With this being the first delivery out of the five ordered, the remaining four are expected to be handed over throughout 2019 until November.
Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen, reflected on the delivery in the following statement to media:
“We are thrilled to take delivery of our very first 737 MAX 8, named Island of Kadavu. The introduction of the 737 MAX is the beginning of a new chapter for Fiji Airways and we look forward to taking advantage of the airplane’s superior performance and economics.”
He later commented on the cabin by adding:
“These new airplanes will enable us to offer a world-class customer experience through the new Boeing Sky Interior cabins with in-seat entertainment for all guests.”
180 seats will be installed on Fiji Airways’ Boeing 737 MAX 8, which is an increase compared to their existing 737-800s which hold 164-170 seats.
Part of the order for the aircraft, Fiji Airways signed an agreement with Boeing to be apart of their Global Services, which will enhance their operations by providing predictive health management of their aircraft.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 slides perfectly into Fiji Airways’ fleet, providing the airline with an aircraft that offers an additional 600 nautical mile range compared to previous generation 737s as well as a 14% reduction in fuel burn. This alone ties in with the common type rating for pilots, flight attendants and maintenance crews, making training much less time consuming.
With strong demand coming from Australia, Fiji Airways will be the second airline to fly the 737 MAX down under after Silkair, with services to Adelaide set to commence in December, replacing the 737-800s operating the route twice a week.
As the rest of the aircraft arrive, more routes will see the Boeing 737 MAX.
Regarding their long-haul fleet of four Airbus A330-200s and a single A330-300, talks are already in place with Boeing and Airbus to discuss replacement options. Airbus is pitching their A330neo and A350, whereas Boeing is competing aggressively with their 787 Dreamliner.
Reports in April stated the airline could make a decision at the end of 2018, specifically September, with deliveries starting in 2021-2022, however nothing has been mentioned since and obviously that month has passed. Eight aircraft were being eyed by the airline at the time of those reports.
In the meantime, the Boeing 737 MAX should keep them busy and on track to delivery a great customer service. More routes will praise the aircraft for its excellent comfort and communities will appreciate the exterior characteristics such as a reduction in noise.