Airline facilitates trade, reconfigures aircraft for freight services

The reconfi guration included removal of all passenger seats from the aircraft, and was done in line with manufacturer specifi cations by Fiji Airways’ Engineering at the airline’s Hangar facilities in Nadi. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fiji’s national air carrier remains committed to operating freight services to maintain essential supply lines between Fiji and its key markets, says Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Andre Viljoen.

“And have been exploring ways to similarly assist our regional neighbours. We recognise the leading role Fiji Airways plays in travel and trade for the entire region. With the approval of aircraft manufacturer ATR, our regulator CAAF as well as the relevant governments, we were able to reconfigure and operate our first ATR freighter to Port Vila,” said Mr Viljoen.

The airline has converted a Fiji Link ATR 72-600 aircraft to a freighter configuration to operate a cargo trip to Port Villa and according to a statement from the airline, this is the first time the airline has reconfigured its ATR aircraft for freight operations.

It said the freighter service carried 3.8 tonnes of cargo from Nadi to Port Vila and 1.9 tonnes on the return sector on Sunday, adding that outbound freight included medical supplies, while the inbound carried a number of consolidated items, including coffee and mail.

“A converted ATR 72-600 freighter allows for carriage of up to 8 tonnes of cargo, while a normal passenger ATR can only cater for up to 1.7 tonnes.

“Our converted ATR freighter service is ideal for Pacific Island countries, given the demand and operating conditions in region.”

He said another ATR freighter service was scheduled for Nuku’alofa, Tonga next week and that Fiji Airways will switch the ATR 72-600 aircraft between passenger and freight-only operations as required.

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