737-8 Max; 737; Fiji Airways; Rendering; over Tropical Ocean; View from low right side; K66590

MIAMI — Fiji Airways said today that has selected the Boeing 737 MAX 8 to replace its existing narrow-body fleet.

The deal, secured with Boeing, GECAS and CFM International includes a 12-year sale and leaseback financing of five aircraft. The first two 737 MAX 8s will be delivered in 2018 and the remaining three a year later.

“As a consequence of the fierce competition between the rival bidders and the extensive process followed by Fiji Airways, we have achieved a ground-breaking package deal that represents excellent value for our shareholders, customers and stakeholders,” Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO said in a statement.

Viljoen also commented that the aircraft would have 170 seats arranged in two classes (Business and Economy), and that an airline team would “work on the cabin designs and fittings to Fiji Airways’ specifications.”

The planes would be deployed for Fiji Airways’ services to Australia, Hawaii, Kiribati, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

“Fiji Airways will have one of the youngest fleets in the Asia Pacific. Which means not only lower operating costs and a smaller carbon footprint but a level of comfort and service for the traveling public that represents yet another leap forward for our national airline,” Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney General and Minister of Civil Aviation, on behalf of the government of Fiji Islands, major stockholder of the airline.

The latest upgrade follows the addition of four new Airbus A330 widebodies from 2013.