The arrival of the first of three new A330 aircraft for Fiji’s airline was an event of national importance and Australia-Pacific Technical College students and staff played a big part in it.
One of the exciting things about the Australia-Pacific Technical College is that it’s so flexible in what it can do. You never know when trainers and students will be called from their studies to help out with some important public function.
On 19 March 2013, a very important function indeed took place, of national significance in Fiji. Air Pacific, to be renamed Fiji Airways in June, took delivery of its first new Airbus A330 aircraft. And APTC hospitality students and staff were asked to serve the refreshments for the 1000 guests invited to celebrate the occasion, among them the President and Prime Minister of Fiji.
The new plane had flown out from the Airbus facility at Toulouse, France, and landed at Nadi International Airport this morning with President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the CEO of Air Pacific, Mr David Pflieger, on board, together with 40 invited guests and the flight and cabin crew who’ll be working on the plane from 2 April 2013. Other guests there to welcome the aircraft included leading citizens and representatives of the business community and international media.
The request for APC participation came directly from Air Pacific. The Director of the School of Hospitality and Community Services, Anthony Bailey, said that the students, from the Certificate III courses in Hospitality and Hospitality (Lodge) were “understandably a little nervous, but under the guidance of their teachers Cathy Joyce and William Hetherington and hospitality tutor Tema Lutu they rose to the occasion.”
Four students were assigned to the VIP area in the hangar at Nadi International Airport where the event was held to serve beverages and food to the President and First Lady, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General. Others were responsible for serving drinks and food throughout the day.
Cathy, William and Tema had worked with the Air Pacific marketing department and Air Terminal Services in the planning and management of the event. Cathy gave the students – who commenced their studies only six weeks ago - an in-depth briefing to take them through the schedule of the event and what to expect on the day.
“The invitation to APTC to play a key role in an occasion of such importance indicates the high regard in which APTC is held in Fiji,” said Anthony Bailey. “It was also an opportunity for the students to put their recently acquired skills to the test in an event of national significance.”
Funded by the Australian Government, the APTC has two campuses in Fiji and campuses and teaching centres in 13 other Pacific region countries.
The new wide-body aircraft, named Taveuni after Fiji’s “Garden Island”, is the first of three to join what will be the Fiji Airways fleet. The airline’s new name is a reversion to the early days of Air Pacific 60 years ago.