Fiji Airways today announced a record F$84.5 million (NZ$58.6m) profit for the past year.

In the year to December 31, the airline also increased passenger numbers on the previous year, up to 1.4 million from 1.3 million.

The group, legally known as Air Pacific Limited, comprises Fiji's national airline, Fiji Airways; its subsidiaries Fiji Link and Pacific Call Comm. Ltd; and has a 38.7 per cent stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island.

Profit increased by 20.5 per cent for the company, up from F$70.2m for the prior year ended 31 December 2015.


Managing director and chief executive Andre Viljoen said the results was "fantastic."

"This strong performance is a true testament to the tremendous work done by our team, responding strongly to the challenges we faced.''

The airline said it was under pressure this year as competitors increased their capacity and discounted fares. It was also hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston in February.

"The result would also not have been possible without the backing of the Fijian Government and the Fijian people, who continue to stand by us," said Viljoen.

In the past year, Fiji Airways has launched new routes to Singapore, San Francisco and Vava'u (Tonga), and increased flights to Hong Kong from three to five services a week.

In New Zealand, Fiji Airways flies in and out of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. It increased seasonal frequencies to these routes along with Apia, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

The state-owned enterprise also launched an aviation academy in Nadi. The academy hosts aircraft simulators for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Viljoen said the airline will set more ambitious goals for 2017, including a year round service to San Francisco and a dedicated sales team in Singapore.