Fiji’s National Airline teams up with Wellington Phoenix for Fijian tour
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND: To celebrate their soon-to-be-launched Wellington to Nadi flights, Fiji Airways, in conjunction with the Fiji Football Association (FFA), today announced its partnership with New Zealand’s only professional football team, the Wellington Phoenix, in what promises to be a fascinating journey for both Kiwi and Fijian fans.
The partnership will see the Wellington Phoenix, along with the Phoenix Academy team, fly on the inaugural Fiji Airways Wellington-Nadi direct flight on June 25 to play exhibition matches against the Fiji national team, and the Fiji Under 23 sides respectively.
“Sport is a huge part of both the New Zealand and Fijian way of life, and the Wellington Phoenix was a natural choice for us to partner with,” said Fiji Airways Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing, Otto Gergye.
“Our new Wellington to Nadi route gave us the perfect opportunity to bring the two teams together, and allow Wellington Phoenix fans to fly with their team to Fiji, a destination Kiwis love.
“We are so excited to welcome the Wellington Phoenix team to our home and to celebrate, we are launching a special fare of NZD$476 return (from Wellington to Nadi) for fans to join the team on the tour,” Gergye concluded.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager, David Dome, is thrilled about the partnership as this is the first time both the Wellington Phoenix first team and its Academy/Reserves team will be touring together.
“This is a pretty unique opportunity for our Football Club,” Dome said.
“For the first time ever, we will be taking an Academy/Reserves side away with our first team, with the second team playing the Fiji U23 side, and our first team playing the national side.
“Fiji Airways and Fiji Football Association have to be congratulated on the vision to make this unique football tour happen – and of course the whole club is very much looking forward to playing four matches in a South Pacific paradise in the middle of a Wellington winter!”
Phoenix Head Coach Ernie Merrick said it was a fantastic opportunity for his players who would be in the early part of their preparations for the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League season.
“We will have had only about 10 days training but it will be a great work out for the players,” Merrick said.
“It is always good to play against an international team as you have to raise your standards and it will be a challenge that early in our pre-season.
“Having the Academy and Reserve players along on the trip is a first for the club and the young players will learn so much by being on tour with the seniors.
Merrick also said it would be an exciting trip for Fijian striker Roy Krishna who has made his mark with the Phoenix this season.
“Roy is obviously immensely popular in Fiji and I’m sure he will enjoy every moment playing in front of his home fans,” the coach said.
Krishna said he really appreciated what Fiji Airways was doing to promote football in his home country.
“Being at the Phoenix has been an amazing adventure but it is always nice to go home,” Krishna said.
“I can’t wait to show my country to all my friends at the Phoenix and to share Fijian culture with them.”
Rajesh Patel, President of the Fiji Football Association said the FFA is extremely delighted with this partnership, and said the National Team is looking forward to playing the Phoenix at home.
“It will be wonderful for Fijian football fans to witness their own stars play against a truly professional visiting team. Also, it will give Our Olympic U23 to play Phoenix Reserve side an excellent preparation, as they are going to Pacific Games soon after,” Patel said.
Match details will be revealed over the coming weeks.
Fiji Airways currently operates up to 13 weekly services between Auckland and Fiji, and two weekly services between Christchurch as Nadi. Fiji Airways is the only airline to offer child discounted airfares as well as a daily business class travel option directly from New Zealand to Fiji. Come June 25, it will be the only airline flying directly between Wellington and Fiji all year-round.
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About Fiji Airways: Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways Group comprises of Fiji Airways, which is the National Airline of Fiji and Fiji Link, its domestic and regional subsidiary. Fiji Airways aims to be a leading global boutique airline, and has a fleet of brand new wide-body A330s and refreshed B737 aircraft. Fiji Link has a fleet of ATR 72, ATR 42 and DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link fly to 32 destinations in 12 countries (including code-shares) and operate 350 weekly flights from Nadi and Suva. Destinations include Fiji Islands, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. The Fiji Airways Group bring in over 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, and the two companies together employ over 1000 employees, earn revenues of over F$675 million ($380m USD), and directly contribute a significant portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiji Airways rebranded from Air Pacific in June 2013. Visit www.fijiairways.com for more information.