The Chairman of Air Pacific, Mr. Gerald Barrack, CF, CBE has announced Air Pacific's wide-bodied fleet re-equipment program with the purchase of five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and purchase rights for a further three. The 320 seat aircraft will operate in a two-class business and economy configuration. Five aircraft will commence service in 2011 and 2012 and the three purchase-right aircraft will be delivered at a time to be determined.
The cost per aircraft is about USD180 million / FJD320 million inclusive of engines and buyer specified equipment. The total fleet re-equipment cost for the five aircraft is in excess of USD900 million / FJD1.6 billion before concessions. The aircraft purchase will be funded through arrangements to be negotiated with financiers under US Exim Bank guarantees, the financing process used for Air Pacific's Boeing 737 fleet. Progressive deposit payments for the aircraft will be met through Air Pacific's cash flow.
Engine selection will follow a competitive tender from the two suppliers of engines for B787's, Rolls Royce and General Electric. A decision will be made in late 2006.
Mr. Barrack said "this is a momentous decision for Air Pacific that has taken many months of detailed study and negotiation. I am pleased with the price negotiated and the certainty this decision provides for Air Pacific, for the future of air transport links within the Pacific and particularly for the future growth of Fiji's tourism and export industries".
Air Pacific and Boeing will detail specifications for the aircraft interior and its equipment and fittings. The aircraft will be outfitted to provide full service including wireless in-flight entertainment [IFE] as part of Air Pacific's commitment to high quality service and comfort for customers.
The aircraft will serve all routes currently operated by Air Pacific's wide-bodied fleet including Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Los Angeles and Tokyo. The existing fleet of wide-bodied B767-300 and B747-400 aircraft will be returned to their Lessors concurrent with delivery of the new Boeing 787's. The Boeing 737-NG fleet will continue to serve regional and smaller metropolitan markets.
In addition to serving the current Air Pacific network, B787-9 aircraft provide for expanded non-stop services when existing immature markets grow. The aircraft have the capability to operate non stop with full 320 passenger loads between Fiji and points in China including Beijing and Shanghai, India including New Delhi and Mumbai, South America and non-stop to US East Coast points including New York.
The aircraft has outstanding cargo capability with the capacity to uplift up to 22,000 kgs of freight, dependent upon the distance flown and passenger load
Air Pacific will be amongst the first airlines to operate the new composite structure Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The Managing Director & CEO of Air Pacific, John Campbell, said "we are delighted to have concluded an extensive evaluation and negotiation and are convinced that the right aircraft has been selected. The Boeing 787-9 offers significantly lower operating and maintenance costs, lower fuel consumption and increased passenger comfort, all vital considerations in an aviation world that is intensely competitive and subject to high fuel costs for the foreseeable future".