Fiji Airways to introduce its first Airbus A330-200 on April 21
Fiji Airways (2nd) (formerly Air Pacific) (Nadi) is planning to introduce its first Airbus A330-200 in its new name and brand on April 21 to both Auckland and Brisbane per Airline Route. The flag carrier is reverting back to its original name. The pictured A330-243 F-WWKD (msn 1394) on a test flight today at Toulouse will become DQ-FJT when it is handed over to the carrier next month. This delivery will also mark the change of the name for the company.
In other news, the revitalized airline is losing its CEO who led the turnaround. The company issued this statement:
Air Pacific Chairman Nalin Patel has announced that the airline’s Managing Director and CEO, David H. Pflieger, Jr., has notified the Board of Directors of his decision to leave the airline and return to the United States following the completion of his three year contract on May 1, 2013. Mr. Patel also announced that the Board would immediately begin the recruitment process for the airline’s next Managing Director and CEO.
“Given the exceptional results Dave has delivered, it is with immense gratitude for his extraordinary service that we have reluctantly accepted his decision to relinquish the helm of Air Pacific and return home. At a time when many of the world’s other airlines were struggling, Dave skillfully guided Air Pacific through one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the airline industry. Thanks to his incredible vision, drive, and leadership, Air Pacific is now again profitable and extremely well-positioned for future growth and success,” said Mr. Patel.
“I would like to say ’Vinaka Vakalevu’ or ‘thank you very much’ to our Board, to everyone at Air Pacific, and to the people of Fiji for an incredible three years. Fiji is an amazing country, and I am humbled by and grateful for the once-in-a lifetime experience that my family and I enjoyed and will never forget,” said Mr. Pflieger. “The tremendous accomplishments Air Pacific has realized over the past three years would not have been possible without the foresight of our Chairman, Mr. Patel, the outstanding support of our Board, and the efforts of some of the most talented and dedicated professionals working and flying in the airline industry today – the men and women of Air Pacific,” said Mr. Pflieger. “It has been an honour and a privilege to work with each and every one of them.”
During his three-year tenure at Air Pacific, Mr. Pflieger led the dramatic and highly successful restructuring, re-branding, and revitalization of Fiji’s national airline, highlighted by achievements that include:
• Restoring airline to profitability in just two years–reversing record operating losses of FJ$12 million and FJ$91 million in the two financial years before he arrived, to produce a FJ$16 million profit
• Winning first-ever recognition from Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the World’s “Top 5” Small Airlines for two years in a row (2011 and 2012)
• Modernizing the fleet by leading the landmark acquisition and financing of the airline’s first brand-new wide-body aircraft, three A330s, scheduled for delivery in March, May, and November of 2013
• Initiating and leading the complete re-branding, renaming, and restoration of the airline to its 1960s name of ‘Fiji Airways’
• Entering into an extensive code-share agreement with American Airlines
• Implementing the Company’s first-ever profit sharing and quarterly performance incentive plans for front-line employees; and
• Instituting a new and highly robust Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that now includes partnerships with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (Friend) for education of underprivileged children, the Mamanuca Environmental Society to preserve Fiji’s amazing coral reefs, and a soon to be announced health and wellness programme.
“As we prepare to fly as ‘Fiji Airways’ with brand new Airbus A330 aircraft, strong P&L, cash, and balance sheet positions, and international awards for being one of the best airlines in the world, it is clear that the company now has a proven track record of success and an exciting future ahead. With our modernization and rebranding almost complete and a completely new and highly capable management team in place, the time is right for me to pass the reigns and pursue other opportunities,” said Mr. Pflieger.
At the Board’s request, Mr. Pflieger, a business executive, attorney, and pilot with almost three decades of aviation experience, will assist with the selection and transition of a new chief executive and help ensure a smooth and successful introduction of the airline’s new aircraft and ‘Fiji Airways’ rebranding.
“The capstone of Air Pacific’s incredible turnaround will be the introduction of our new Airbus A330s. When we welcome the first of these three new wide-body aircraft in mid-March, it will be a proud day for the airline, Fiji, and all Fijians. Thus, I am especially pleased that Dave – as the architect of the airline’s turnaround, rebranding, and growth– will remain with us to see that through,” said Mr. Patel. “It is with great appreciation for a job extraordinarily well done that the Board thanks Dave for his leadership and wishes him and his family our very best regards for the future.”
Copyright Photo: Eurospot.
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