Can Fiji's Open Skies Policy Revolutionize Air Travel in the Pacific?

Abhishek Nayar

13 Apr 2024

In a groundbreaking move, the government of Fiji has given the green light to an open skies policy, marking a significant shift in the country's aviation landscape. The decision, made during a recent cabinet meeting in Suva, opens the door to a host of opportunities for both local and international carriers. With approvals to be granted on a case-by-case basis, the policy aims to leverage economic, strategic, and operational considerations to maximize benefits for Fiji's aviation sector.

Fiji Airways Takes Center Stage

During the pivotal cabinet meeting, Andre Viljoen, CEO of Fiji Airways, presented a compelling case for the adoption of an open skies framework. This presentation played a crucial role in shaping the government's decision and underscores the airline's pivotal role in Fiji's aviation strategy. As negotiations kick off with the United States, Fiji Airways stands poised to expand its reach to new destinations and enhance connectivity between Fiji and key global markets.

Unlocking Potential

The move towards open skies heralds a new era of connectivity for Fiji, offering unprecedented opportunities for growth and development. By liberalizing air travel regulations, Fiji aims to attract more airlines to its shores, stimulate tourism, and bolster economic activity. Enhanced connectivity not only benefits passengers with more choices and competitive fares but also fosters trade and cultural exchange, positioning Fiji as a hub for the Pacific region.

Building Bridges with the United States

One of the most significant outcomes of Fiji's open skies policy is the potential for expanded air links with the United States. Negotiations are underway to establish a comprehensive open skies framework that would enable Fiji Airways to operate direct services to new US destinations, as well as facilitate seamless travel via US gateways to third countries. This initiative not only strengthens bilateral ties but also taps into the lucrative trans-Pacific market, opening up a world of possibilities for travelers and businesses alike.

Navigating Bilateral Agreements

Fiji's move towards open skies comes against the backdrop of existing bilateral air service agreements, including a longstanding accord with the United States dating back to 1979. While these agreements have facilitated air travel between Fiji and various international destinations, the adoption of an open skies policy represents a bold step towards liberalizing the country's aviation sector further. With 28 bilateral agreements already in place, Fiji is well-positioned to leverage its strategic location and expand its network across the globe.


Fiji's embrace of an open skies policy marks a significant milestone in the country's aviation history, promising to reshape the dynamics of air travel in the Pacific region. With Fiji Airways at the forefront of this transformation, the prospects for enhanced connectivity, economic growth, and cultural exchange are brighter than ever. As negotiations progress and new opportunities emerge, the question remains: can Fiji's open skies policy unlock the full potential of its aviation sector? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain— the skies over Fiji have never looked more inviting.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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IndiGo Boosts Fleet with Firm Order for Ten A320neo Aircraft

Abhishek Nayar

13 Apr 2024

In a move set to bolster its already impressive fleet, IndiGo, one of India's leading low-cost carriers (LCCs), has solidified its commitment to Airbus by confirming an order for an additional ten A320neo aircraft. This latest acquisition adds to the airline's substantial backlog with the European manufacturer, reflecting its ambitious growth plans in the dynamic Indian aviation market.

Solidifying Commitment

IndiGo's parent company, InterGlobe Aviation Limited, initially announced the approval of the order for the ten A320neo aircraft in early September 2023. However, the purchase contract was officially finalized on March 15, 2024, as revealed in Airbus's March 2024 order and delivery update. These aircraft are part of a larger order originally placed in 2019, comprising a mix of A320neo and A321neo variants, including the highly anticipated A321-200NY(XLR).

Expanding Fleet Dynamics and Robust Order Book

Currently operating a fleet of 368 aircraft, IndiGo's diverse lineup includes A320-200s, A320-200Ns, A321-200NXs, A321-200(P2F)s, ATR72-600s, and even a couple of wet-leased B777-300ERs. The recent firm order for ten A320neo aircraft further cements its position as a key player in the Indian aviation landscape.

IndiGo's commitment to growth is underscored by its substantial order book at Airbus, which now totals a staggering 941 aircraft. This includes a mix of A320-200s, A320-200Ns, A321-200Ns, A321-200NXs, and A321-200NY(XLR)s. Additionally, the airline is set to receive five more ATR72-600s from ATR - Avions de Transport Regional.

Vision for Growth

IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers expressed confidence in the airline's existing order book, describing it as "a wonderful asset" that aligns with their ambitious growth targets. Speaking at the recent Asia Aviation Festival in Singapore, Elbers emphasized IndiGo's goal to double in size by the end of the decade, backed by their robust fleet expansion plans. He highlighted the relentless demand for air travel in India, stressing that it will only continue to escalate in the foreseeable future.


IndiGo's firm order for ten A320neo aircraft underscores its unwavering commitment to expansion and dominance in the Indian aviation market. With a robust order book and ambitious growth targets, the airline is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of air travel in the region. As the demand for air travel continues to surge, IndiGo remains steadfast in its pursuit of excellence and innovation in the skies.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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Can Avionic Upgrades Revitalize AA' A320ceo Fleet?

Abhishek Nayar

13 Apr 2024

In a bid to enhance operational excellence and stay at the forefront of aviation technology, Airbus and American Airlines have inked a transformative deal. This partnership will see 150 Airbus A320ceo family aircraft undergo extensive avionic system retrofits, catapulting them into a new era of efficiency and reliability.

Avionic Systems Retrofit

The cornerstone of this agreement lies in the comprehensive upgrade of avionic systems across American Airlines' A320ceo fleet. Among the notable enhancements is the integration of advanced weather prediction capabilities, powered by the latest generation of weather radar technology. This crucial addition promises to bolster safety and mitigate the impact of adverse weather conditions on flight operations.

Furthermore, the adoption of the Satellite Based Augmentation System Multi Mode Receiver (SBAS MMR) heralds a significant stride forward in precision navigation. By leveraging GPS-based satellite navigation systems, this upgrade enables more accurate and reliable approaches at airports, enhancing overall flight efficiency and punctuality.

The incorporation of the latest Air Traffic Services Units (ATSU) standard marks yet another milestone in modernizing air-ground communications. With improved communication media such as VHF data radio, seamless and reliable communication between aircraft and ground control is ensured, further optimizing operational efficiency.

Airframe Upgrades

In addition to avionic enhancements, Airbus' Extended Service Goal packages will facilitate component and airframe life extension, ensuring the longevity and sustainability of American Airlines' A320ceo fleet. These upgrades not only prolong the operational lifespan of the aircraft but also contribute to cost savings and environmental sustainability.

Strategic Implications

Antoine Morel, Vice-President and Head of Airframe Services for Airbus, underscored the strategic significance of these retrofits in aligning with American Airlines' fleet modernization efforts. By embracing cutting-edge avionic and airframe technologies, American Airlines aims to streamline its operations and elevate its competitive edge in the dynamic aviation landscape.

Moreover, Airbus' integrated approach to long-term solutions underscores its commitment to delivering on customers' strategic objectives. The collaborative partnership between Airbus and American Airlines exemplifies a shared vision for innovation and excellence in aviation.


As American Airlines embarks on this journey of avionic transformation, the question arises: Can these upgrades revitalize its A320ceo fleet? The answer lies in the synergy between technological innovation and strategic foresight. By embracing state-of-the-art avionic systems and airframe enhancements, American Airlines not only enhances operational efficiency but also paves the way for a sustainable and competitive future in aviation. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, the partnership between Airbus and American Airlines serves as a testament to the transformative power of innovation in shaping the future of flight.

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Cancellation-Hit Vistara's CEO Tells Staff: Worst is Behind Us

Preet Palash

12 Apr 2024

Vistara which has been hit with dozens of flight cancellations after its pilots reported sick over the last few weeks has told its staff members that the worst is behind the airline days.

“The anxiety and frustration felt by our customers was matched in even measure to the pain that all of us felt in seeing our much-loved brand drawing negative commentary from various quarters... I assure you that the worst is behind us, and we have already stabilized our operations, with our on-time performance increasing to 89% (second highest among all Indian airlines),” said Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara said in a note to employees on Thursday, “(Reasons for disruptions included) ATC delays, bird hits, and maintenance activities… We were stretched in our pilot rosters and there was not enough resilience to withstand injects that we would otherwise have weathered. We could and should have planned better. This has been a learning experience for us which we will review thoroughly.”

This is the second such communication to the staff in the last fortnight by the CEO.

“We (as Vistara) have worked hard over the last decade to become and remain (India’s) most loved airline. While events of the last week may seem like a setback, we have bounced back from tough situations and emerged stronger… I trust each of you to continue to put in all efforts to ensure that we do not let our brand, and our customer, down,” he added.

Vistara has reduced its operations by 10% or 25-30 flights daily, mostly domestic, to avoid large-scale disruptions.

"We have provided the necessary compensation as per the regulatory mandate, and have also offered additional service recovery vouchers for passengers whose flights were significantly delayed," the Vistara chief said.

The airline has a fleet of 70 planes, comprising A320-family aircraft and Boeing 787s, and plans to run over 300 flights every day during the current summer schedule.

"Dealing with disappointed customers is never easy but amidst all the chaos, we have received feedback on how some of you went beyond the call of duty to assist our customers to the extent possible," Kannan said.

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Fly91 to Add Agatti, Jalgaon to its Network

Preet Palash

12 Apr 2024

Regional startup Fly91 will add Agatti and Jalgaon to its domestic network, the airline said in a statement

The Goa-based carrier will commence operations between Goa-Agatti-Goa, Goa-Jalgaon-Goa and Hyderabad-Jalgaon-Hyderabad, starting April 18th. The new routes will establish direct connectivity between these vibrant destinations, offering travelers enhanced accessibility, and increased flight options.

With fares starting at Rs 4391, the Goa-Agatti flights will reinforce connectivity to and from the Lakshadweep Islands. The regional carrier will fly to Agatti on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Fly91 will operate the Goa - Jalgaon - Goa and Hyderabad-Jalgaon-Hyderabad flights on Monday, Thursday and Saturday with fares starting at Rs 1991 onwards.

Commenting on the addition of the airline’s fifth and sixth domestic destinations, Manoj Chacko, MD and CEO at Fly91 said "We are delighted to introduce Lakshadweep, India’s enchanting Union Territory, as Fly91's newest domestic destination. The breathtaking natural landscapes, pristine sandy beaches, and rich biodiversity are certain to captivate travellers, inviting them to explore the untouched beauty of the island chain. The launch of these new flights underscores Fly91’s commitment to expanding air travel accessibility and promoting tourism. As a leading regional carrier, we are dedicated to delivering affordable and seamless travel experiences."

The addition of Agatti and Jalgaon as domestic sectors in FLY91’s network coincides with the domestic summer holiday season. Agatti Island, one of Lakshadweep's most sought-after destinations, boasts a 6 km stretch of stunning land blessed with diverse marine life. Agatti attracts enthusiasts of deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, and kayaking. Additionally, the island serves as an ideal starting point for exploring the tranquil isles of Bangaram, Pitti, Thinnakara, Parali-I, and Parali-II, Karavati islands which lie nearby.

Jalgaon is the gateway to the historic Ajanta and Ellora caves located a short drive away from Jalgaon airport. Snuggled in the northern part of Deccan Plateau, the district is known as the “Banana city” as it accounts for two thirds of the banana crop coming out of Maharashtra. The airline currently operates flights into Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Sindhudurg.

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Airbus Sets Sights High Amidst Boeing's Turmoil

Abhishek Nayar

12 Apr 2024

In the midst of Boeing's ongoing crisis, Airbus has emerged as a beacon of stability and confidence in the aerospace industry. At a recent shareholders' meeting in Amsterdam, Airbus voiced optimism regarding its production forecasts, signaling resilience against lingering supply chain challenges and geopolitical tensions. This article delves into Airbus's steadfast outlook, recent achievements, and the strategic initiatives driving its success.

Airbus's Resilience Amidst Boeing's Crisis

As Airbus shareholders convened in Amsterdam, the stark contrast between the fortunes of the European aerospace giant and its U.S. counterpart, Boeing, was evident. While Boeing grapples with the fallout from a panel blowout on its 737 MAX 9 and a staggering 29% decline in its shares, Airbus has seen its stock surge by 16% since the beginning of the year.

Confidence in Production Forecasts

Despite the complexities of the current operating environment, Airbus remains undeterred in its pursuit of production goals. Shareholders received assurances that Airbus is well-positioned to meet its annual delivery target of 800 aircraft, supported by a recovery in orders from airlines post-pandemic.

Challenges and Strategic Responses

Acknowledging the hurdles ahead, Airbus is actively addressing challenges such as supply chain disruptions and cost pressures. While core single-aisle production is currently below internal planning levels, Airbus is committed to accelerating production to meet its target of 75 aircraft per month by 2026.

Investor Confidence and Returns

Airbus's proactive approach to shareholder value was underscored by the approval of a one-euro-per-share special dividend, amounting to nearly 800 million euros. This move, coupled with an unchanged regular payout, reflects Airbus's commitment to returning cash to investors amidst its commercial successes.

Strategic Investments and Technological Advancements

Amidst its focus on production ramp-up, Airbus remains dedicated to investing in digital technology and cybersecurity. Recent acquisitions, such as the purchase of German IT firm INFODAS, underscore Airbus's commitment to leveraging technology to enhance its capabilities and safeguard its operations.


As Airbus charts a course forward amidst industry challenges, its unwavering confidence and strategic initiatives position it as a formidable force in the aerospace sector. With a commitment to meeting production targets, returning value to shareholders, and investing in future technologies, Airbus continues to soar above the turbulence, even as its rival faces turbulence of its own.

With Inputs from Reuters