From 2008 to 2010, Fiji’s Air Pacific airline experienced a period of record financial losses and significantly reduced market share. However, after just one year under new leadership, the national carrier was already showing significant signs of recovery.
In an October 2012 interview with the CAPA-Centre for Aviation, Air Pacific CEO and Managing Director David Pflieger outlined many of the airline’s recent accomplishments, as well as the various challenges left for it to surmount, as it headed into the final leg of its three-stage transformation initiative.
Among the obstacles still facing the company were fluctuating fuel costs, an unstable global economic climate, and regional competition. However, while companies such as Jetstar and Virgin Australia had recently taken a firmer hold on the sector, Dave Pflieger guided the company to solidify its position as a major international carrier, increasing the frequency of flights to major cities including Sydney, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. One of the final stages of the massive rebranding saw the airline revert to the name it had used prior to 1958: Fiji Airways. Pflieger noted that, in addition to highlighting the firm’s role as a quality national carrier, the name change would help to position Fiji as an attractive tourism destination as its fleet traveled the globe.
David Pflieger’s accomplishments with Air Pacific, now operating as Fiji Airways, included making new investments to improve the onboarding experience and introducing new, custom-designed Airbus A330-200 aircraft to the carrier’s fleet. He also revitalized the staff with incentive plans and social responsibility initiatives, and forged a partnership with Tourism Fiji in an effort to strengthen the entire travel sector. While 2010 marked one of the airline’s worst years in over six decades of operation, the $9.2 million in profits it earned in fiscal year 2012 indicated that it was well on its way to recovery.