The country’s flag carrier, Fiji Airways, prepaid $72 million on one of its major COVID-19 loans.
This, according to Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive, Andre Viljoen, who also said that their performance since October 10 last year and the opening of borders had been very encouraging.
Mr Viljoen said bookings held for the six-month period from June to November were up 6% week on week.
He said the total number of reservations held for this period was 365,847 compared to 334,767 in 2019, which reservations exclude markets that are currently not operating such as Hong Kong, Japan and South Pacific countries.
Mr Viljoen said the Australian market’s projected performance for the same six-month period was remarkable.
He said in addition to reservations held which increased by 5% week over week, the total number of reservations held was 193,255 compared to 155,806 for 2019.
Mr. Viljoen said the projected performance of the US market for the same six-month period was a bit slower.
“In addition to reservations held increasing by 6% week over week, total reservations held are 91,968 compared to 93,001 for 2019,” he said.
Mr Viljoen said the New Zealand market’s projected performance for the same six-month period was catching up fast after starting later.
“In addition to reservations held increasing by 9% week over week, the total number of reservations held was 78,203, compared to 78,053 for 2019.”
However, Mr Viljoen said the ultimate measure was, of course, cash generation.
He said the airline’s target was $50-60 million during off-peak months and $70-80 million during peak months. Mr Viljoen said that since October 10 last year, the national airline had taken in $37 million.
He said that in the same period last year in November they took in $81.3 million, December $52.7 million, January $47 million, February $56.6 million, March $86.2 million, April $98.4 million, May $110.9 million and June $115.3 million.
However, Mr Viljoen said all of this demand and positive performance had been dented by the huge increase in fuel prices caused by the war in Ukraine.
He said the price of Jet kerosene today is $157 a barrel, compared to an average price in 2019 of around $80 a barrel.
Mr Viljoen said that airlines should implement substantial airfare increases in the future, but that would not be enough.
“They will need to explore and implement additional steps to increase their revenue.”