12 April 2023

Fiji Airways to announce Canberra route

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Fiji Airways plane

The new route to Fiji may be a sign of others to come. Photo: Fiji Airways.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s persistent international flights diplomacy has borne its first post-COVID fruit with news that Fiji Airways will begin a direct service to the Pacific island nation from Canberra.

The official announcement will be made at Canberra Airport on Friday (14 April) and include representatives from Fiji Airways, the Fijian Government, Canberra Airport and Visit Canberra, including Mr Barr, Fiji Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Viliame Gavoka, and Canberra Airport Head of Aviation Michael Thomson.

They will announce details about the service and what it means for Canberra.

READ ALSO Folk Festival a heart-warmer on a teeth-chattering Easter weekend

Also on hand to unveil the new route will be traditional Fijian dancers, Fijian Drua players who will swap shirts with opposite numbers from the Brumbies ahead of their clash later that evening, and pilots and cabin crew.

Mr Barr had hinted that some sort of announcement on flights was imminent when discussing the latest visitor numbers to Canberra last week.

“As the aviation industry recovers, and more planes and crew are brought back online, that opens up more opportunities for us,” he said.

“People want to come, and if they put on the flights, the seats will fill.”

Last October, Chief Minister Andrew Barr left Canberra for a four-day trade mission to New Zealand and the Pacific in a bid to do a deal on direct flights to Auckland and Fiji.

Mr Barr’s delegation met with senior New Zealand Government ministers, the new Wellington mayor, the Fiji Airways CEO and Nadi International Airport officials.

Canberra Airport management joined the delegation in Auckland and Nadi.

This followed a visit to New Zealand in May 2021, after which he said the two markets of Auckland and Wellington would come down to plane size.

Mr Barr is yet to land a direct New Zealand link, but it remains high on his agenda, as is the return of Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines to Canberra.

Qatar has postponed the expected resumption of its Canberra service, while Singapore is yet to announce anything. However, it has made positive noises about a return to Canberra sometime in the future.

Mr Barr has continued pushing the matter, last visiting Singapore on a trade mission in August.

He also has hopes that Qantas will add new routes to Canberra as it rebuilds capacity and adds to its fleet.

READ ALSO Calls for better research and data to support local businesses

Last week, he said Qantas boss Alan Joyce had specifically referenced routes such as Canberra-Auckland, Canberra-Wellington and Canberra-Singapore as within the capacity of its new aircraft.

“We’re obviously working closely with Qantas to pursue those opportunities,” Mr Barr said.

Last July, Mr Thomson said he hoped Singapore Airlines would be back in Canberra in the next six to 12 months and the airport was looking to establish services to New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The Fiji Airlines deal will boost hopes of more international routes to come.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Tough time to launch a new venture when few have the surplus cash for an international holiday. I hope the flights last until interest rates ease and more people can “get onboard” 🙂

Capital Retro7:15 pm 13 Apr 23

The undeniable feedback on this thread indicates more Canberrans will be travelling out of Canberra than tourists coming in.

How is that going to help the ACT economy?

Govt can promote it through their newsletters, Canberra tourism website etc. Airport management could offer reduced fees until airlines start filling seats. Yes it’s a commercial undertaking, but sometimes need help to make them viable. Just like first home owners grant or grants for switching to renewable energy. These are private activities with private benefits, support helps build critical mass. I don’t know the business case, but Just Saying 😀

Canberra and region people need to use these services to keep them going. I’m sure there’s a role for the government and airport management to make these services viable through support and publicity in the short term.

what support do you expect from the govt? Barr has done the work in negotiating to get Fiji airways here. Now it’s up to the service providers, i.e. those who stand to benefit from the travel to and fro, to attract the customers. No further role for government, whatsoever, in this commercial undertaking.

craig mathews7:58 am 13 Apr 23

Fiji airways is also about to announce a new USA city. They already fly to LAX, SFO & HNL, but Dallas is likely to be new city. Dallas is a mega hub for American Airlines (AA). AA fly to almost every city in North & South America from Dallas (maybe use qantas frequent flyer points from Dallas ?). Dallas is also the HQ of Southwest, the largest USA domestic airline.

craig mathews7:46 am 13 Apr 23

predict there wil be some promotional sub $1000 return tickets Canberra to LAX via Fiji (even less for kids). This time around Canberra people must use this service or lose it. It was about 10 years ago, that Fiji Airways(air pacific) tried Canberra/Fiji route, but was short lived. You can earn Qantas frequent flyer points or any one world airline points/miles on any fiji airways flights & you can also bid online to upgrade to the best business class across the pacific on their A350s.

craig mathews7:42 am 13 Apr 23

also via Fiji will be the fastest & cheapest way to USA, Canada & Japan plus other Asian ports.

Capital Retro11:41 am 13 Apr 23

But not non-stop if connecting from Canberra.

Hope this means Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are also real close to coming back. One and a bit stops to Europe is so handy.

Capital Retro6:47 am 13 Apr 23

Says the climate change alarmist on another thread who conveniently forgets that the airline industry now contributes 10% of all greenhouse gasses.

@Capital Retro
So the denialist is now worried about greenhouse gases?

And as usual, you distort the facts to suit your non-argument. The plane manufacturers have made great inroads into reducing the carbon footprint of air travel and will continue to do so.

Capital Retro11:48 am 13 Apr 23

I am not worried about your’s and bigred’s version of climate change I am just pointing out the hypocrisy that goes with and if can’t see that you are a bigger fanatic that I thought.

Please tell us how aircraft manufacturers have and are reducing the carbon-footprint of airliners that burn hundreds of tonnes of fossil fuel every time they fly for 14 hours.

How come the climate alarmists ignore the high efficiency of ICE motor vehicles?

@Capital Retro
No fanatical hypocrisy to be seen here, CR, just your usual avoidance of the reality of action on climate change.

Q. “Please tell us how aircraft manufacturers have and are reducing the carbon-footprint of airliners that burn hundreds of tonnes of fossil fuel every time they fly for 14 hours.”
A. Sustainable fuels is a huge step, CR … perhaps you should investigate a bit further to avoid confirming your ignorance

Oh and by the way – FACT CHECK: the aviation industry is responsible for around 2.5% to 3.5% (not your 10%) of global CO2 emissions

Capital Retro6:59 pm 13 Apr 23

Some future aircraft power concepts (massively funded by taxpayers) are investigating hydrogen powered flight but any results are 10 years away. Electric flight will never be feasible.

While the global energy-related CO2emissions decreased by over 5% between the first quarter of 2019 and 2020 due to COVID-19 [10], the aviation sector was responsible for 915 million tonnes of CO2emissions in 2019, which was 2% of the globalhuman-induced CO2emissions and 12% of global transport-related CO2emissions.

@Capital Retro
Let me address your second para first … well actually I don’t need to address it – you have proven your statement above “the airline industry now contributes 10% of all greenhouse gasses.” was completely false.

As for your first para … Airbus has already developed the world’s first all-electric, four-engined aerobatic aircraft https://www.airbus.com/en/innovation/zero-emission-journey/hybrid-and-electric-flight … damn another failed fact check for you

Capital Retro8:58 am 14 Apr 23

The E-Fan X 4 engine electric airliner project didn’t even fly.

If you want to split hairs I concede that it existed but: https://simpleflying.com/airbus-e-fanx-scrapped/

You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

And I was wrong about how much emissions were created by the airline industry – it was actually 12%.

Rabbitohswin8:52 pm 12 Apr 23

How good. No doubt the route will get lots of use during the July and September school holidays.

Gregg Heldon6:33 pm 12 Apr 23

Excellent news. We’re the National Capital of Australia. We should have direct international flights.

Capital Retro6:58 am 13 Apr 23

The article does not say where in Fiji the flights will operate to and from. As far as I am aware, it will be Nadi which is 190KM from the capital Suva. There is an “international” airport at Nausori which is about 50km from Suva.

@Capital Retro
Given Nadi is the ‘tourist capital city’ of Fiji, it would be a certain death nell for the venture if the flights were to go to any other airport – especially Nausori, into which airport no flights from Australia currently fly.

Capital Retro4:32 pm 12 Apr 23

How do we know this isn’t more international direct flight bula?

thatsnotmyname1:57 pm 12 Apr 23

this is exciting. there should be plenty of adverting around the city and airport. The first time international flights were coming to the ACT there was very little physical advertising even around the airport. Put it out there.

Agree 100% … the ‘failed’ attempt at direct flights to Fiji last time was definitely due to a lack of publicity. Let’s hope there’s a big campaign, especially during the Canberra winter – which is the perfect time to travel to Fiji. Our holiday plans are already fixed for this year, but look forward to using the service next year.

craig mathews7:43 am 13 Apr 23

airlines need to get travel agents, tour operators & wholesalers on side, as something like 65% of all international airfares sold ex Australia are via agents.

@craig matthews
Wow! I didn’t think the agent sale figures would be that high. I was recently told by a Flight Centre consultant that they (FC) are no longer able to beat the air fares available online – which was a huge reason we used their services.

You are right though, if better deals are suddenly available from the agents, etc. it would be a huge way to promote the new service.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.