MIAMI — Fiji Airways took delivery of its first, brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 yesterday—the first carrier within the South Pacific Islands to add the latest version of the 737 to its fleet.

Fiji Airways, based at Nadi International Airport, flies to 13 countries and 31 destinations, including Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, the United States, Japan, and Singapore.

Photo: Joe G Walker

Fiji Airways plans to take delivery of another four 737 MAX planes by the end of 2019.

The planes will complement its existing fleet of 737 Next Generation aircraft, which consists of four 737-800s and a sole 737-700.

The new 737 MAX 8 will allow Fiji Airways to open up new routes and better suit demand, thanks to its extended range capabilities.

Fiji Airways CEO, Andre Viljoen, said to be “thrilled to take delivery of our very first 737 MAX 8, named Island of Kadavu.

Photo: Joe G Walker

“The introduction of the 737 MAX is the beginning of a new chapter for Fiji Airways, and we look forward to taking advantage of the airplane’s superior performance and economics,” he said.

On Boeing’s side, Ihssane Mounir, SVP of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company, declared that he and his team are “delighted to welcome Fiji Airways to the MAX family of operators and we are thrilled they will be the first 737 MAX operator in the Pacific Islands.”

Mounir also highlighted the fact that Fiji Airways is a sound Boeing operator and that “the market-leading efficiency of the MAX will pay immediate dividends for Fiji Airways and will help them improve their operation and route network.”

Photo: Edwin Leong

Currently, the carrier operates a fleet with an average age of 11.2 years, consisting of five Airbus A330-200s, one A330-300, one Boeing 737-700, four 737-800s, and the recently delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8.