May 15, 2012

The Australian: New planes, new livery as Air Pacific reclaims its Fijian brand

BY: STEVE CREEDY From: The Australian May 15, 2012 12:00AM

AIR Pacific will take on Jetstar and Virgin Australia next year with new Airbus A330 planes and a rebrand that will see the return of its original Fiji Airways moniker.

The rebranding, announced yesterday, is designed to improve traveller recognition and align the brand more closely with the popular holiday destination.

It will roll out the new brand in ticket offices, check-in counters, lounges, the website and advertising over the next 18 months, culminating with the arrival in June next year of two of three A330s sporting new livery. The third A330 will arrive in November.

The new planes will replace two ageing Boeing 747-400s and will join three Boeing 737-800s and one 737-700 already operated by the airline, which services 15 cities in 10 countries.

Chief executive David Pflieger said the airline's name and brand were not working because travellers did not associate Air Pacific with Fiji. "They are not recognised, they are not notable, and they don't help us sell tickets to fill our seats with passengers coming to Fiji," he said.

Competition from the Australian low-cost carriers, the GFC and rising fuel prices pushed Air Pacific into the red but Mr Pflieger managed to reduce a 2009-10 operating loss of $F91.8m to a loss last financial year of $F3.6m.

Asked when the carrier would get back into the black, he would not comment on details ahead of the results.

"But what I can tell you is that against our business plan we're doing better than expected,"he said.

Qantas has been trying to sell its 43.6 per cent stake in the airline since 2009.

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