The twice weekly service will add up to 34,000 seats to Wellington, operating Thursdays and Sundays and running at family friendly times arriving and departing around midday. The airline also offers discounted fares for children.
Passengers will be able to fly directly to the popular holiday destination as well as connecting onwards to North America.
Steve Sanderson, Wellington Airport’s Chief Executive said the airline will be the first to offer a year round service from Wellington to the Pacific Islands.
“We have worked with Fiji Airways for a number of years on the opportunity the Wellington market presents and are delighted they have committed to the region. This service will be in demand with travellers both here and in Fiji, for holiday makers and everyone visiting family and friends,” he said.
Fiji Airways will provide connecting opportunities throughout the Pacific region, including Samoa and Tongo.
Wellington residents travelling to Fiji and the United States have grown by more than 20 percent over the last two years, with United States visitors using Wellington as their New Zealand point of entry increasing by 35 percent over the same period.
Mayor Wade-Brown said: “It is an excellent connection and superb route to and from the United States - the introduction of the service is well timed given the international growth Wellington has experienced.”
Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Stefan Pichler, said: “The introduction of this new route reflects our commitment to the New Zealand market and in growing our global network.”
Stefan Pichler is soon to leave Fiji Airways, to help turnaround Germany’s national airline – airberlin.
He will return to Germany in February after helping Fiji Airways to improve its future prospects, including new aircraft, flights, and destinations. Stefan Pichler led a turnaround programme to return the carrier, formerly Air Pacific, to profitability. The airline recently reported its best ever first-half profitability and is on course to deliver record-breaking full year results.
Fiji Airways’ Chairman, Nalin Patel said the Board of Fiji Airways would immediately begin a search for a suitable successor to lead Fiji Airways into the next exciting chapter of its history.
“Great progress has been made at Fiji Airways and the company is definitely on track for a successful future. The Board will make sure that Fiji Airways will continue to deliver outstanding value to its customers, its staff and its shareholders,” he said.
Before joining Fiji Airways, he was Managing Director & Chief Executive of Jazeera Airways, where his successful turnaround programme led to 13 consecutive quarters of profits, with industry-leading margins of 25.6 per cent in 2011 and 30.2 per cent in 2012. Prior to that, he was Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO of Virgin Blue Airlines, which became one of the most profitable global airlines in 2006 and 2007, with double-digit post tax margins. He also launched V Australia, which he served as Chairman until 2009.