Today in History: Air Pacific Rebranded as Fiji Airways

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It is 10 years to the day Air Pacific, Fiji’s international airline, relaunched as ‘Fiji Airways’ on the 28th of June 2013.

The unveiling of the airline’s new brandmark in 2013 was part of Air Pacific’s restructuring and rebranding, returning the airline to its 1951 name of ‘Fiji Airways’ and also welcomed the first of three brand-new A330s.

The airline was founded by Australian aviator Harold Gatty who in 1931 had been the navigator on a record-breaking round-the-world flight with Wiley Post. Gatty moved to Fiji after World War II and registered the airline in 1947 as Katafaga Estates Ltd., after the coconut estate Gatty had established on Fiji’s eastern island group.

Gatty renamed the airline as Fiji Airways in September 1951. The New Zealander Fred Ladd was Fiji Airways’ first Chief Pilot.

Fiji Airways’ first flight was on 1 September 1951, when a seven-seater de Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane departed Suva’s Nausori Airport for Drasa Airport near Lautoka, on the west coast of the main island.[6] The airline’s first international flight to Brisbane, Australia was on 1 June 1973.[5]

In 1983 it started flights to the US with a route to Honolulu called “Project America.”

In December 2009, Air Pacific commenced a twice-weekly service to Hong Kong, which was increased to three services in January 2014. In July 2010 Air Pacific announced a new Suva-Auckland service.

Today, the airline and its domestic/regional subsidiary, Fiji Link, operate over 400 flights a week including international services from its hubs in Fiji to 13 countries and 26 cities including, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands (Oceania), Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the United States.

It has an extended network of 108 international destinations through its codeshare partners.

The Fiji Airways Group brings in 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, employs over 1000 employees, and earns revenues of over FJD$815 million (US$390m).