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Fiji Airways orders five new Boeing 737s
[SUVA, Fiji] Fiji Airways announced on Wednesday it had ordered five new Boeing 737s - reportedly worth US$470 million - as part of a fleet upgrade programme at the Pacific nation's flag carrier.
The airline said it would take delivery of two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft next year and three more in 2018 to replace five earlier-model 737s currently operating.
It did not reveal the cost of the deal but local media reports put the price at FJ$1.0 billion (S$670.2 million).
"This is a major capital decision that had to be done correctly, so we followed a rigorous, thorough and transparent process to find the right solution," chief executive Andre Viljoen said.
Fiji Airways has a fleet of 15 aircraft made by a range of manufacturers, including Airbus and Boeing, and began a replacement programme in 2013.
The Fiji government, which owns a majority stake in the airline, said the new planes would give it one of the youngest fleets in the Asia-Pacific region.
"(It) means not only lower operating costs and a smaller carbon footprint but a level of comfort and service for the travelling public," Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said that under the deal, Boeing would help Fiji Airlines establish a flight simulator school, making the country an aviation training hub in the Pacific.