Aviation

Fiji Airways posts $36 million full-year profit, but faces “challenging” 2019

The national carrier of Fiji has revealed much slower profit growth for 2018, following a record result in the year prior.

Fiji Airways posted a full-year profit of $36.6 million in 2018 – down a whopping 42 per cent from the record $63.5 million profit in 2017, which the airline blamed on rising fuel prices, unfavourable currency fluctuations and major fleet and infrastructure investments.

Revenue increased 10 per cent to $680 million, which in Fiji currency terms equated to $1.02 billion. It marked the first time that the airline has crossed the billion-dollar mark for revenue in its 67-year history.

Fiji Airways CEO and managing director Andre Viljoen said the airline’s outlook for 2019 remains “challenging”.

“We are set to add two brand new wide-body aircraft to our fleet, increasing seat capacity which in turn means more visitors, ultimately benefiting the Fijian economy,” he said.

“Fuel price is expected to negatively impact us in 2019 by F$40 million, hence the need to invest in modern, fuel efficient aircraft that aligns with our commitment to providing a world-class travel experience.”

“Our team stands ready to navigate these challenges, maintaining sound fiscal discipline and a relentless focus on customer experience.”

This year will also see the commencement of a number of sustainability initiatives for Fiji Airways, as it places strong emphasis on removing plastic and reducing waste where possible.

“One of our upcoming initiatives will see us remove two tonnes of plastic from our aircraft a year, and save up to half a million litres of water annually,” Viljoen said.

Fiji Airways chairman Rajesh Punja added: “That we managed to record our highest ever revenue total and post a significant profit despite all the challenges facing our industry is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team.

“By becoming Fiji’s first billion-dollar revenue-earning company, we have been able to create more jobs, more opportunities and further growth for Fiji’s tourism industry.

“The board also acknowledges the leadership of the management in guiding the team, and is grateful for the continued support of the Fijian government towards our airline.”

Coinciding with its full-year results, Fiji Airways has also announced the addition of two new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft to its fleet to better service the Australian and US markets.

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