Fiji Airways Launching Vancouver Flights

Fiji Airways Launching Vancouver Flights

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Fiji Airways has announced that it will be launching flights to Canada, marking the carrier’s third route to continental North America.

Fiji Airways launches Nadi to Vancouver route

As of November 25, 2022, Fiji Airways will launch 2x weekly flights between Nadi (NAN) and Vancouver (YVR). The route will operate on Mondays and Fridays with the following schedule:

FJ880 Nadi to Vancouver departing 10:15PM arriving 1:20PM
FJ881 Vancouver to Nadi departing 9:40PM arriving 5:30AM (+2 days)

The flight covers a distance of 5,865 miles, and is blocked at 11hr05min eastbound and 11hr50min westbound.

Fiji Airways will use an Airbus A330-200 for the service, featuring a total of 273 seats. That includes 24 (angled) business class seats and 249 economy class seats. Read my review of Fiji Airways’ A330 business class. Sadly the flight won’t be operated by Fiji Airways’ new A350s, which feature a much improved business class product.

Fiji Airways A330 business class

This will be Fiji Airways’ only route to Canada, while the airline operates to three destinations in the United States, including Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Honolulu (HNL).

Fiji Airways is a partner of both Alaska Mileage Plan and American AAdvantage, so it should be possible to redeem those mileage currencies for this service.

I’m surprised Vancouver was chosen over Seattle

If Fiji Airways were to launch flights to Canada, Vancouver is the obvious choice. However, I’m a bit surprised the airline didn’t launch flights to Seattle instead:

  • Air Tahiti Nui recently announced it would launch Tahiti to Seattle flights; obviously Fiji and Tahiti are somewhat different markets, but they’re both popular tourist destinations, and both airlines offer connectivity to other places in the South Pacific, like New Zealand
  • Fiji Airways has a partnership with Alaska Mileage Plan, so Fiji Airways would have lots of feed there, while that won’t be the case in Vancouver; who knows, maybe an Air Canada Aeroplan partnership is imminent?
  • With the USD being much stronger than the CAD, there’s often significantly more pricing power out of the United States rather than Canada, even though Vancouver is an affluent market

So I do find this decision to be curious. Or maybe Fiji Airways specifically chose Vancouver because Air Tahiti Nui chose Seattle, recognizing that the airlines do compete in some connecting markets (like Auckland).

Air Tahiti Nui is launching Seattle flights

Bottom line

Fiji Airways will be launching 2x weekly flights between Nadi and Vancouver as of late 2022, which will be the carrier’s only route to Canada. It’s great to see Fiji Airways expand, though admittedly 2x weekly frequencies is pretty limited capacity. Then again, for those traveling between the two cities, this cuts travel time significantly.

What do you make of Fiji Airways’ new Vancouver route?

Conversations (32)
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  1. Fed UP Guest

    Not a surprise at all... YVR is much more of an international airport than SEA.... Much easier transit connections, either international or US Transborder... This feeds into the Canadian market, the US market is well served through SFO and LAX...so much for being a so called aviation expert... do your homework

  2. Kelly Guest

    It's a not a surprise at all actually. Largish Fijian population or defendants around Vancouver, easier access through customs - USA is such a nightmare, Aussies coming to BC to ski (which is by far the best skiing in North America) in the winter.

  3. Manny Guest

    Yvr is the oviouse choice, working in the airline industry ,seatle much smaller airport with 1 runway the delays of just landing n taking off is horrible.

    1. Fed UP Guest

      hello ? Seattle has 3 runways, not 1

    2. crosscourt Guest

      MATE you need to learn how to spell the name of one of the oldest airlines in the world

      Fed UP Guest
      July 7, 2022, 7:11 am
      Remember though, CP Air coupled with Quantas, had to stop somewhere in the 80s

      Try QANTAS

  4. Rick S Guest

    I would question the comparison between Seattle and Vancouver. Despite their proximity to one another, they are totally different markets.

    Seattle is clearly the wealthier and stronger business market, flush with iconic technology and other corporate giants.

    Vancouver is the stronger leisure market, with more inbound tourism and VFR-related traffic, thanks to so many new immigrants. (VFR = visiting friends and relatives.)

    I would also question the notion that Vancouver is an affluent market. Maybe...

    I would question the comparison between Seattle and Vancouver. Despite their proximity to one another, they are totally different markets.

    Seattle is clearly the wealthier and stronger business market, flush with iconic technology and other corporate giants.

    Vancouver is the stronger leisure market, with more inbound tourism and VFR-related traffic, thanks to so many new immigrants. (VFR = visiting friends and relatives.)

    I would also question the notion that Vancouver is an affluent market. Maybe it is, in terms of wealthy inbound tourists from Europe and Asia going on cruises and exploring real estate investment opportunities...

    ...but, as an outbound market, it really isn't. In fact Canada as a whole is known as a low-yield market compared with the US and other developed countries.

    In terms of average income, Vancouver is roughly the same as Omaha, but with sky-high real estate prices thanks in large part to foreign investment (this is from a Bloomberg piece from a few years ago focused on the Vancouver real estate market).

    There are rather few corporate HQs compared with Seattle, and they're focused on mining/resources, which employ few high management types or knowledge professionals. There are some tech workers/startups, but it's a faint echo of Seattle.

  5. Tanya Tikaram Guest

    Bula Ben, I'm delighted that you wrote about your experience with Fiji Airways as I am from Fiji. Truly appreciate the time you spent on this as I love Fiji Airways!

  6. AJ Guest

    Really like your articles actually. However, small niggle, in aviation we use the 24hr clock. No am/pm .

    1. Fed UP Guest

      Americans, except for the military, are incapable of understanding a 24 hour clock....

  7. Sam Guest

    They will still get AS feed. They fly SEA-YVR many times per day. It's a short hop & worth the views. Too bad no 350. Still have to go to LAX for that.

  8. Ken P. Guest

    There's an ethnic Fijian community of around 80,000 in Canada. They're partly catering to that market.

    This isn't their first service to Vancouver. They operated for a few years in the late 1990s/early 2000s (when their name was Air Pacific) using the Boeing 737-800 with a stop in Honolulu.

    Canadian Pacific/CP Air served Nadi for several decades starting in 1949 until at least the 1980s as a stop on their route to Australia.

    1. HereHare Guest

      Ken did you ever fly that route? I did. To get to Sydney from Canada, YVR to HON to NAN to SYD. The NAN flight left Fiji at 3 a.m. to arrive at the designated Australian arrival window. Flying has come a long way since the 80s!

  9. PCloete Guest

    There is a significantly large Fijian Indian expat community located in ,YVR and the route was previously served by CP Air..Air New Zealand (via HNL) plus a previous service by FJ using Narrow body aircraft via HNL. all well supported.

  10. Kifayat Yusuuf Guest

    Fiji Airways chose YVR because there are about 90k FIJIANS LIVE in British Columbia

  11. CMT Guest

    Ben, it'd be great to see an article about Fiji Air not issuing any J award inventory for the past 6-8 months. At least with AA awards. What's behind it and if that's the new normal.

    I've been trying to ferret out -- if it's temporary to recoup covid lost funds with buy-up upgrades, or a more 'permanent' policy decision to no longer release J award inventory to One World partners.

    The usual forums...

    Ben, it'd be great to see an article about Fiji Air not issuing any J award inventory for the past 6-8 months. At least with AA awards. What's behind it and if that's the new normal.

    I've been trying to ferret out -- if it's temporary to recoup covid lost funds with buy-up upgrades, or a more 'permanent' policy decision to no longer release J award inventory to One World partners.

    The usual forums have been fairly quiet on it. No one seems to know what's going on. Several airlines aren't releasing J awards this summer but they're available in 2023. Not Fiji Air though.

  12. S prasad Guest

    About time for the fijians in Canada .

  13. jon Guest

    Wonder if Fiji would make a pit-stop to Rarotonga (RAR) on the way to NAN, now that NZ has canceled their LAX-RAR sevice?

  14. Ross Guest

    US gateways are easier for French travelers who use them en route to French Polynesia, and for that matter Tahitians who are French citizens. Canada is the North American country of choice for those parts of the world that have to meet stringent US visa requirements, even for tourists.

  15. Aniljak Guest

    Fiji is a very popular destination for Canadians who then continue on to NZ and Australia.
    Canadian Pacific serverd Nadi for many years until they merged with Air Canada.
    In 80s they flew a 747 daily -from Sydney to Vancouver via Nadi & Honolulu. I flew on it in March 86 and it was totally full!
    They also flew a DC10 from Auckland via Nadi and Honolulu to Vancouver in 90s. I...

    Fiji is a very popular destination for Canadians who then continue on to NZ and Australia.
    Canadian Pacific serverd Nadi for many years until they merged with Air Canada.
    In 80s they flew a 747 daily -from Sydney to Vancouver via Nadi & Honolulu. I flew on it in March 86 and it was totally full!
    They also flew a DC10 from Auckland via Nadi and Honolulu to Vancouver in 90s. I flew Auckland - Nadi on it,with a Qantas issued ticket for an Air NZ code share flight on a Canadian aircraft to Fiji!!!
    In a press release in Adelaide this week, where they have just resumed service, Fiji airways stated they were particularly targeting Australian passengers outside Sydney ofering transfer in Fiji rather than crowded Sydney. Flights were being retimed to make for quick and easy connection.
    They also said they were planning on making Nadi a popular transfer point to direct services to points other than LAX with Seattle a possibility
    Rumours also of Nadi - Cairns service to start soon and Nadi -Perth!

    1. kimshep Guest

      Bingo ! Thank you Aniljak. You are today's winner.

      It should also be remembered that SEA has been on QF's radar for quite a while. The proposed BNE-ORD-BNE was due to start at the very start of COVID .. and subsequently shelved. The decision to serve ORD was a tight-fought contest between ORD and SEA.

      To put this in context, QF has a 46% shareholding in Fiji Airways and I am sure that QF...

      Bingo ! Thank you Aniljak. You are today's winner.

      It should also be remembered that SEA has been on QF's radar for quite a while. The proposed BNE-ORD-BNE was due to start at the very start of COVID .. and subsequently shelved. The decision to serve ORD was a tight-fought contest between ORD and SEA.

      To put this in context, QF has a 46% shareholding in Fiji Airways and I am sure that QF certainly still holds designs on SEA, but at more than 2 services a week. As Aniljak correctly points out, YVR is a proven leisure market which Fiji Airways can enter with a relatively light initial schedule and build out as required.

      SEA on the other hand is a different market, which has a considerable business demand, which would require more than a 2x a week service. I can't recall any direct services out of SEA to NAN in the past 40 odd years, so demand would be a guesstimate by everyone, at this stage - purely because SEA inhabitants currently have to fly SEA-LAX/SFO or SEA-HNL and change aircraft to NAN.

      Fiji Airways is a well run, conservative carrier who over recent years have began building an excellent reputation for service. Their new fleet of A350's and A330's are not inexhaustable and new aircraft are not cheap, but they are managing to add new routes to their network.

    2. Kiwi Guest

      My recollection was it was all DC10-30 service on the South Pacific services with arrivals timed to arrive Into and out of HNL as a scissor Hub from YYZ YYC and YVR. The AKL would most of the time run via NAN but in the later years ran nonstop. They occasionally stopped in Nuku’alofa IIRC. The SYD service had to stop in NAN unless it was operated by one of the wardair 742’s from HNL-Syd...

      My recollection was it was all DC10-30 service on the South Pacific services with arrivals timed to arrive Into and out of HNL as a scissor Hub from YYZ YYC and YVR. The AKL would most of the time run via NAN but in the later years ran nonstop. They occasionally stopped in Nuku’alofa IIRC. The SYD service had to stop in NAN unless it was operated by one of the wardair 742’s from HNL-Syd but still often did stop in nan.

      As a kid this was a frequent run of mine as I grew up in NZ and my dads family was in YVR

    3. Fed UP Guest

      Remember though, CP Air coupled with Quantas, had to stop somewhere in the 80s and 90s... they could not get from Vancouver to Australia otherwise...

      There was an actual TRANSIT mode stop in HNL, where passengers got off the plane in a sterile transit area in HNL to change planes, without going through US Customs...... during that time

  16. echino Gold

    How is award availability? I couldn't find a single seat in any class so far using Alaska miles.

  17. Max Guest

    with direct flights so expensive, this will be full of Aussies I'd imagine, similar to some of their US flights

  18. Ed Guest

    This will be full of Australian skiers in the northern winter, and probably still full of Australians in the northern summer. Lower yielding than the direct routes but I’m sure it will help fill the planes.

  19. FM Guest

    Why surprised it goes to YVR? That's the second largest airport in the country and the Western Hub for most flights over the Atlantic. I for one am super excited and unsurprised about a great route to hit Australia and Fiji! SEA nowhere near that ranking in it's country

  20. Pete Guest

    There is a much larger population of former Fiji residents who have immigrated to the greater Vancouver area. It's a no brainer.

  21. Michel Albert Guest

    Maybe YVR is cheaper in terms of fees….

  22. Jason Guest

    When do the tickets go on sale? Any guesses when I can book with my Alaska miles?

  23. Abe Latif Guest

    Good news hopefully it is a direct flight ✈️ not like before had to stop over in Honolulu go thru customs.

  24. Alan Guest

    I think Air Pacific flew to YVR once upon a time (via HNL) so it's sort of technically a relaunch. In addition to potentially not trying to go head to head with TN in SEA, I am also wondering if they are trying to capture connections in NAN to Australia, NZ and the South Pacific as I wouldn't think the VFR Fijian market in YVR or the Canada to Fiji vacation market are of sufficient size?

  25. James Guest

    Air Pacific served YVR via HNL using its 737-800. So now the rebranded Fiji Airways resumes the route.
    Why YVR, vs SEA, I suspect it has to do with links to Commonwealth and fact that YVR has a large Indian diaspora and a huge chunk of the Fijian population has Indian descent.

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Sam Guest

They will still get AS feed. They fly SEA-YVR many times per day. It's a short hop & worth the views. Too bad no 350. Still have to go to LAX for that.

1
crosscourt Guest

MATE you need to learn how to spell the name of one of the oldest airlines in the world Fed UP Guest July 7, 2022, 7:11 am Remember though, CP Air coupled with Quantas, had to stop somewhere in the 80s Try QANTAS

0
Fed UP Guest

Americans, except for the military, are incapable of understanding a 24 hour clock....

0
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