Monday, 19 May 2014:Fiji Airways’ subsidiary, Pacific Sun is preparing in earnest to receive its brand new ATR 72-600 aircraft in early June. This is also when the domestic and regional carrier will be officially rebranded as ‘Fiji Link’.
Eleven Pacific Sun pilots are undergoing a complete ‘difference’ course training for the ATR 72, finishing at the end of this week. The brand new twin-engine turbo prop aircraft will have seating capacity for 68 passengers, and will be used to operate Fiji’s larger domestic ports of Nadi, Suva and Labasa. It will also operate regionally to Samoa, Tonga and Funafuti, on behalf of parent company Fiji Airways.
Pacific Sun General Manager Shaenaz Voss says: “Preparations are well underway for the transition to Fiji Link, especially with the addition of a larger ATR aircraft type to our fleet. Our ATR Fleet Captain Manu Rajappa completed the difference course in Singapore and the other pilots are doing the same. The pilot corps will be ready to being operating the ATR 72 aircraft as soon as it beings commercial flights in mid-June.”
“There are two sets of training and include ‘differences training’ from a 42-500 to 72-600 series, flight simulator and various ground courses. Flight simulator slots are very limited due to the number of 600 simulators available around worldwide and also the heavy demand for pilot training from the ever growing ATR72-600 operators. Our training plan has worked out as scheduled and we appreciate the support of CAAF in bringing this into fruition.”
A Senior Cabin Crew supervisor has been trained in New Zealand, and all other Cabin Crew will complete their ground training and will be ready for commercial flights mid-June.
Stefan Pichler, Fiji Airways Group Managing Director and CEO says: “We are committed to grow in the South Pacific and the domestic markets as part of our Five Year Master plan. The arrival of the larger ATR 72-600 aircraft marks the beginning of our fleet modernisation plan for Fiji Link. Another brand new ATR 42-600 aircraft will likely enter the fleet in November, allowing one of the existing 500-series ATRs to exit the fleet. And, finally, a second brand new ATR 72-600 will be here in December, exiting the second current ATR 42-500.”
He adds: “Our investment in new ATR fleet for Pacific Sun/Fiji Link means better, more comfortable travel for our customers domestically and in the region. We are strengthening our Pacific network and matching the right aircraft to the routes and demand. Adding new ATR aircraft for regional operations means freeing up some capacity of our B737 aircraft, which again allow us to grow our services into our Australia, New Zealand and also Hawaii. There are exciting times ahead of us all and every Fiji Airways and Fiji Link team member will walk the extra mile to make a smooth and successful transition possible.”