Fiji Airways’ inaugural service from Nadi to Lupepauʻu International Airport has landed in Vava’u at 10:25 am yesterday Saturday 2 starting a two-times a week, year-round service between Nadi and Vavaʻu.
In February the airline announced it would soon fly direct from Fiji to Vava’u.
However it later announced it has added Nukuʻalofa to its Vava’u’s flightpath after it considered the low record of passengers travelling to the islands at this time of the year.
Hundreds turned up to the aiirport to welcome the arrival of the aircraft yesterday.
The Chairman of the Tonga Tourism Authority Tomifa Paea has described the new air service as “a long overdue dreams for the Vava’u Tourism”.
Paea said the “original plan was to operate Nadi/Vava’u/Nadi, but Fiji Airways knowing the low loading capacity for April and May decided to reroute the flight Nadi/Vava’u/Nuku’alofa/Nadi”.
He said the current route will be reviewed “later in June when the tourism seasons start”.
“Both Lupepau’u and Fuamotu airport will be financially benefits from transit fees, departure fees, landing fees etc.. and reflect how important this new flight service especially Lupepau’u International Airport and earn more revenues to sustain its operations”, Paea said.
Paea said the arrival of the new Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200 with 312 passenger seats at Fuʻamotu International Airport last week meant there is need to expand the domestic flight services so they could meet the needs to fly these passangers to the outer islands.
Paea welcomed the rerouting of the flightpath by the Fiji airline saying “this will attract the tourists with more options on booking their trip to enter from Fuamotu to Vava’u and onward or enter from Nadi/Vava’u to Fuamotu and onward internationally”.
“With the ongoing planning from Tonga Tourism Authority wanting to bring new airline International flight into Fuamotu and extend the services from Lupepau’u to Samoa this automatically will bring future demand for more seats on our domestic flight.
“As being the Chairman of Tonga Tourism Authority our Domestic Airline is very important for the overall growth of Tourism in Tonga and should be look into ways to help build their capacity for the future”.
The ceremony was attended by Tonga’s Minister of Public Enterprise, Hon Poasi Tei.