Fiji government-controlled Air Pacific is reverting to its original name, Fiji Airways, to better reflect its role as the national carrier.
Managing director David Pflieger says while Fiji Is well known around the world as a holiday destination, the airline’s association with Fiji Is not.
“Our current name and brand are not working,” he says.
“They are not recognised, they are not notable and they don’t help us sell tickets or fill our seats with passengers coming to Fiji.”
Fiji is heavily dependent on tourism, which makes up a third of the economy, and it is targeting China, the US and Canada as growth markets beyond the tradition sources of New Zealand and Australia.
The airline was last called Fiji Airways between 1958 and 1970, changing its name to Air Pacific to reflect its expanded regional presence.
In a ceremony in Suva attended by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and other senior government and company officials, the airline also announced the rebranding would coincide with the delivery of three new A330-200 aircraft in 2013.
It is the first time in the airline’s 65-year history that it has bought new aircraft rather than leasing or flying old ones.
Air Pacific is 51% owned by the Fiji government, with Qantas Airways holding 46.3%.
The next biggest shareholder is Air New Zealand with nearly 2%. The governments of Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru hold less than 1% in all.
The Fiji government recently announced it was strengthening its position on the board and reducing the influence of Qantas.
In recent years Air Pacific has turned around its financial performance, reducing its losses from $F91 million in 2009/10 to $F3 million last year.
It flies routes to 15 cities in 10 countries, including the US, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, using a fleet of six jet aircraft.
It also runs an island-hopping airline Pacific Sun.
Together they carried a total of 1.1 million passengers in the March 2011 financial year.
This was up 3% and boosted annual revenue by $F40 million, while non-fuel costs were reduced by $F40 million.