The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association have congratulated Fiji Airways on the resumption of flights to Japan.
Fiji Airways last week announced direct flights between Nadi and Tokyo Narita three-times a week, subject to regulatory approvals.
The announcement of the direct flights that will commence on July 3, 2018, was made by the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Association president Dixon Seeto congratulated Fiji Airways for resuming the flights to Tokyo.
He said: “Expansion of the Fiji Airways network is a great development for the tourism industry and its means increasing capacity from other markets will be welcomed.”
Announcement was an early Christmas gift:
Mana Island Resort and Spa chief operations officer Hiroshi Matsumoto said the announcement is an early Christmas gift for the Japanese community in Fiji and abroad.
“From the bottom of my heart thank you for the big Christmas gift.
“I would like to thank the Fijian Government and Japanese Government’s decision.”
He said Fiji is a rugby country, so it’s not kickoff yet but my aim is to ensure when it kicks off there is no side game.
“Meaning, we want Fiji Airways to fly to Japan and to continue flying and not cease at any point in time in the future and not like before.”
The nine-hour flights will operate from Nadi International Airport to Narita International Airport.
Each week, flights will be scheduled for Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, offering over 80,000 seats per year between Fiji and Japan aboard Fiji Airways’ state-of- the-art planes, the Airbus A330-200/- 300.
Fiji Airways organised a Friends of Japan cocktail on Monday to officially introduce the relaunch of the Fiji-Japan flights next year.
Celebration at Japan
Fiji Airways chief commercial officer Marc Cavaliere, Executive General Manager, Sales and Marketing Andrew Stanbury and their team were in Japan last week and met with key Japanese stakeholders to talk about the launch.
Mr Stanbury highlighted that on their first trip they used that opportunity to talk to some key decision makers in the travel industry in Japan about the flight timings/schedules and to get their advise.
“We were there on an exploratory visit and were asking the question if we were to fly to Japan to Fiji, what are the days of the week and the times of the day that your customers would want to see us fly.”
He noted that it had a great deal of influence on their decision making.
“We came back and we worked with our scheduling team and to say look we now need to work to meet the feedback that we have had from the market if we want to give this the best chance of being successful.
‘We need to provide them with best solution that they are telling us that they need and we were absolutely thrilled.
“We have worked hard, our scheduling team with Narita airport and with our own operations in terms of making the aircraft availability.
“Now what we’ve got is a schedule that will allow people to work a full day and join our flight in the evening sleep overnight on the flight and be having breakfast here in Fiji.
“It allows them time to get to their resorts without waiting for too much time for their room to be available and it allows them to transfer out to the island or anywhere in Fiji either on us or boats or road transport.
“And then coming home our schedule allows people to maximise their time in Fiji where they want to be as opposed to leave their holiday a little bit early because of the timings
“So we are delighted with that and when we announce the timing with the travel industry in Japan they said this perfect.
“They said the days of the week; the times of the day were pretty much what they were asking for in our last visit and they were most appreciative.”
Mr Cavaliere said: “We were very encouraged by the warm reception we received by the indication of how many people from Japan are very keenly interested in coming to experience the Fijian hospitality and warmth that we have to offer here.
He said it was a successful trip especially during the launch in Tokyo.
“For members of the travel trade, individuals who had been there and involved with Fiji travel many years ago when we flew as Air Pacific and now part of the large travel trade of the community.
“Travel agencies, the tour operators are all welcoming us back and again echoed at that event the enthusiasm for the services.
“I think a lot of people were excited to hear that we were going to enter the market with three flights rather than two.
“Because the schedule offers are tremendous amount of additional choice and additional convenience for individuals who can make selections from a wide and broader range of itinerary.
“We talk a lot of the tremendous significance and importance of bringing tourism and visitors here to Fiji.
“But there is also a lot of additional importance with the traffic in the business and the commerce potential for travel from Fiji now making it much easier to get to Japan and not just Fiji alone.
“But as Fiji become more prominent as the gateway or the hub to the South Pacific now we have excellent connections with many of the neighbouring nations to be able to come through Fiji.
“This is to provide the most direct really best fared routes to Japan so that will help to support commerce and trade as well including the sea food market.
“No better time than to be thinking about for all our fellow residents here in Fiji
“No better time to be thinking about a trip to Japan.”
(Source: FijiSun ONLINE 13 December 2017)