Two longstanding airline routes linking Fiji to the outside world are on the chopping block.
Korean Air announced it would cease service between Seoul Incheon and Nadi, Fiji effective October 01st. On the same day, Fiji Airways announced it would suspend service to Adelaide, Australia.
The loss of Korean Air is particularly disappointing. First, Korean Air has served Fiji three times per week continuously since 1995. Second, Korean Air provided the only direct link to Asia by a foreign carrier.
Although not directly blamed on the 737 MAX, the Adelaide suspensions may be the result of two 737 MAX aircraft that have been grounded since shortly after the crash of ET302. With a small fleet, Fiji Airways has been forced to cut frequencies to compensate for the loss of two aircraft (plus three more that are due for delivery).
Fiji Airways will be taking delivery of two A350 aircraft later this year, which will be utilized on Fiji’s flagship routes to Los Angeles and Sydney. The delivery of those two aircraft may allow for the resumption of the Adelaide service.
As for the news, Fiji Airways had very little to say:
Like any airline, we are constantly reviewing and optimizing scheduled routes and the aircraft used to service them.
It has been years since I visited Fiji, but when I did it was from Honolulu on Continental Airlines. United has since eliminated service from both Honolulu and Guam to Fiji. With two more route cutbacks, Fiji becomes even more isolated…but perhaps that’s an upside if you are willing to invest the time and energy to get there. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people.