Fiji airways confirms Tonga route

Fiji Airways will start flying two times a week from Nadi International Airport to Tonga’s Vavaʻu Islands on April 2, 2016.

The flight will take 2 hours and 68-seat ATR 72-600 turboprop regional airliners will be used on the service. The aircraft are operated by its Fiji Link regional subsidiary.

In early June 2014 Fiji Link was launched with the arrival of its new ATR 72-600  from the Singapore-based leasing company,  Aviation PLC.

The Nadi-ʻVavaʻu route will kick start with flight FJ275 departing Nadi International Airport at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Wednesday and was expected to arrive at Lupepauʻu International Airport at 11:10 a.m. local time.

Its return flight FJ274 will leave Vavaʻu at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Wednesday and scheduled to arrive at Nadi Airport at 5:20 p.m. local time.

The company’s managing director and CEO Andre Viljoen said: “The new route offers a seamless addition to Fiji Airways’ South Pacific network.”

The new flight service could be an opportunity for a cut down on flight times and to create a smoother continuity of flight schedules for travellers from the United States to Vava’u who used to fly to Vava’u through Tongatapu.

Reports revealed overseas visitors to the kingdom bound for Vava’u regularly experienced long delays and cancellations of  their connecting flight from Tonga’s main island Tongatapu to Vava’u and vice versa.

The Fiji airline said passengers to Tonga from San Francisco on its Thursday aircraft can board its Saturday flight to Vava’u while those who would arrive on its Sunday plane have to take a few days in Fiji before its Wednesday schedule.

Previous services

Fiji Airways, formerly known as Air Pacific, withdrew its services for Tonga in 2011 because of decline in the number of visitors to Vava’u.

In 2014 the Tongan government announced a Fiji Airways direct flight service from Fiji to Vava’u has been made.

It is understood the Fijian airline company has requested cheaper landing fees from Tongan authority but because the Friendly Islands’ domestic airport was not making money out of its services the request was declined.

The Tongan government claimed Vava’u is one of the best destinations in the world for marine recreational activities.

Last year it announced many tourists to the kingdom travelled directly to Vava’u to swim with whales.

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