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Fiji Airways to expand non-stop service to Vancouver this winter

Airline has started using bigger planes; will temporarily increase frequency to three times per week
Fiji Airways' regional general manager for the Americas, Stroebel Bekker, was in Vancouver this morning and met with BIV | Glen Korstrom

Fiji Airways plans to increase frequency on its non-stop route between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Nadi International Airport (NAN) to three times per week in December and January, up from twice per week, its regional general manager for the Americas, Stroebel Bekker, told BIV this morning. 

"We hope to grow to have a year-round, three-times-per-week service to Vancouver," he said. 

The airline's flights out of Vancouver now leave on Mondays and Fridays. The added flights will be on Wednesdays, Stroebel said. 

Fiji Airways launched non-stop Fiji-Vancouver flights last November and has watched the route become "extremely strong," he added. 

Stroebel would not provide an exact percentage for how full the flights have been on the Vancouver route, but he said that the airline recently increased capacity by more than 20 per cent by using larger planes. 

Fiji Airways initially used Airbus A330 planes on its route to Vancouver, with those planes able to hold 24 passengers in business class and 254 travellers in the economy section, for a total of 278 people. It now uses Airbus A350 planes that can hold 33 passengers in business class and 301 travellers in economy seats, for a total of 334 people. 

Many of the passengers from Vancouver connect in Fiji to flights to New Zealand and Australia. One advantage of flying Fiji Airways, Stroebel said, is that passengers can book free stopovers for up to 72 hours in Fiji in each of their flights' directions, before they continue to their final destinations. 

The larger Airbus A350 planes also give the airline the capacity to carry 25 tonnes of cargo, up from a negligible amount of cargo in each direction when the airline used Airbus A330 planes. Imports to B.C. from Fiji include seafood, kava and tumeric. Cargo on the planes to Fiji often is offloaded and sent to connecting destinations and the airline has so far shipped general merchandise, such as clothing and airplane parts, to Fiji from B.C., as well as B.C. products such as salmon. One possibility in the future is for the planes to transport currency. The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg prints Fijian money for the Fijian government, Stroebel said. 

The airline's other non-stop flights to North America include daily flights to Los Angeles and flights three times per week to San Francisco. Those flights add flexibility for Vancouverites who need to return on a day when the non-stop flights to Vancouver are not flying, Stroebel said. 

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