• Fiji Airways welcomed its third Airbus A350, named the Island of Beqa, at Nadi Airport on Tuesday and a fourth A350 will soon join the fleet.
  • The new A350 is regarded as the most advanced commercial aircraft, offering fuel efficiency, reduced noise, and lower CO2 emissions.
  • The A350 provides additional seating capacity and cargo space for Fiji Airways, allowing for more long-haul routes to meet increased demand.

On Tuesday Fiji Airways welcomed its latest Airbus A350 to its new home at Nadi Airport. The new A350 is named the Island of Beqa and is the third to join the fleet, with a fourth to follow next week.

To greet the A350, Fiji Airways held a gala event with around 2000 guests and staff in the main hangar eagerly awaiting the aircraft's arrival.

Fiji Airways A350 DQ-FAM Island of Beqa
Photo:Michael Doran I Simple Flying

An important event for Fiji and the airline

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka, was in attendance along with government ministers, cultural leaders, CEO Andre Viljoen and Simple Flying. After the traditional water cannon salute the event got underway with formal Fijian cultural proceedings followed by an address from Viljoen that highlighted how growing demand is helping Fiji get back on its feet after the very severe impact of COVID-19.

 Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen Airbus A350-900 DQ-FAM
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The new Airbus A350 has been acquired on a 12-year operating lease, and Viljoen said the widebody is widely regarded as the most advanced commercial aircraft in operation today.

"This state-of-the-art aircraft with its superior features has been the pride and joy of our airline and the joy of our passengers.

"It combines the latest in aircraft aerodynamics with new-generation engines and lightweight materials to deliver approximately a 15-20% reduction in fuel burn and operating costs, a 40% reduction in noise and 20% lower CO2 emissions."

He added that the third A350, together with the fourth will provide an additional 60 seats in every flight, which will add 50,000 more seats on average per month from the quarter forward this year.

Fiji Airways A350 DQ-FAM Economy Cabin
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The A350 also carries 20 tonnes more cargo than the previous generation aircraft which will significantly assist the country's export markets and trade prospects. Viljoen continued with:

"To give an example this A350 is capable of flying up to 15,000 kilometers [9,300 miles] with a full load of 334 passengers.

"Compared to one of our classic A330-200s on our current daily flight from Nadi to Los Angeles the A350 carries 60 more passengers, a total of 30 tonnes of cargo, uses 15-20% less fuel and flies there 50 minutes faster."

More long-haul routes are on the way

In common with the two existing A350s, the new aircraft are configured in a two-class layout of 334 seats, including 33 in business class and 301 in economy. The full-service carrier has three Airbus A330-200s with 273 seats and one A330-300 with 313 seats, both also in two-class configurations.

The A350-900 will quickly begin operations to add much-needed capacity on existing routes to Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver, and Hong Kong as Fiji Airways copes with a 40% increase in demand this year compared to pre-Covid levels. When borders reopened in Australia and New Zealand in December 2021 Fiji Airways was primed and ready to go.

Fiji Airways A350 DQ-FAM
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

Viljoen said the airline reached pre-Covid levels of 2019 within six months from when borders reopened, and today it has grown by 33% and is forecast to reach 40% ahead of 2019 levels by the end of this year. The new aircraft also offers opportunities for new long-haul destinations such as Dallas, Seattle, Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul, as well as new routes to Australia.

New aircraft but they were built in 2018

The latest A350, registration DQ-FAM and MSN 251 flew into Nadi from Malta (via Los Angeles) where it had undergone some finishing touches before the long ferry flight home. According to, the fourth A350, registration DQ-FAN and MSN 260, is also in Malta and will enter service as the Island of Vatulele.

Fiji Airways A350-900 DQ-FAM in Nadi Airport
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The new A350s were built in 2018 for delivery to Hong Kong Airlines but never entered service with the airline or with parent Hainan Airlines. They went into storage in mid-2019 and were reactivated in June/July 2023 in readiness for delivery to Fiji Airways.

Have you flown with Fiji Airlines on their A350? Let us know in the comments.