US DOT approves code-sharing expansion of Am Airlines and Fiji Air
The US Department of Transportation has granted approval of a joint application filed in July by US based American Airlines and Fiji’s national carrier, Fiji Airways to expand the two carriers’ code-sharing agreements — in which each airline publishes and markets a flight under its own airline designator and flight number, as part of its published timetable or schedule.
Samoa News points out that the governments of the United States and Fiji have in place since 1979 the Air Transport Service agreement which allows for a stop over in Pago Pago for flights between the US and Fiji operated by Fiji designated airlines. The agreement, which was amended in 1996, also includes flights from Fiji via other South Pacific islands to Pago Pago and beyond.
When contacted yesterday for comments, off island industry sources told Samoa News that if the Lolo Administration is successful in attracting Fiji Airways to operate to and from Pago Pago, the territory could later be included in the American Airlines and Fiji Airways code sharing.
Although, American Samoa’s inclusion in the airlines’ code sharing would require an amendment for USDOT approval.
On the other hand, sources say, if Fiji Airways is able to secure a stopover in Pago Pago on its flights between Fiji and Los Angeles and San Francisco, then American Airlines can include American Samoa on its side of the code-share.
The joint application and approval amends code share currently in place between American Airlines and Fiji Airways, according to the USDOT decision released Wednesday. It also states that the approval is valid from Sept. 28, 2016 to Sept. 28, 2017. Thereafter the carriers can apply for another one-year extension.
USDOT notes that American Airlines has conducted a safety audit of Fiji Airways under the Department’s Code-Share Safety Audit Program, and the US Federal Aviation Administration “has advised us that it has reviewed the relevant audit report and found it to be acceptable.”
“The authority granted is consistent with the aviation agreement and the overall state of aviation relations between the United States and Fiji, and with the overall state of aviation relations with Samoa, Christmas Island, Tonga, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands,” said Brian J. Hedberg, director of the USDOT’s Office of International Aviation.
The code-sharing routes — pertaining to the South Pacific — allow Fiji Airways to display the “AA” designator code of American Airlines on flights operated by Fiji Airways between: Los Angeles and Nadi, Fiji; Honolulu and Nadi; San Francisco and Nadi; Nadi and Suva;Honolulu and Apia, Samoa; Nadi and Apia; Honolulu and Kiribati (Christmas Island); Nadi and Tongatapu, Tonga; Nadi and Port Vila, Vanuatu; and Nadi and Honiara, Solomon Islands.
For American Airlines, the code-sharing routes permit American to display the “FJ” designator code of Fiji Airways on flights operated by American or American Eagle within the United States; between the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Brazil; and beyond Fiji Airways’ Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco gateways.