David Pflieger is an accomplished CEO, attorney, commercial and military pilot who began his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Dave Pflieger’s extensive experience as a senior executive includes CEO roles at three different companies which he successfully restructured, turned around, and recapitalized, sold, or led to record-breaking profits. Most recently, David Pflieger was the President and CEO of Hawaii Island Air where he worked directly for Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, and successfully sold the airline to local Hawaii investors after fixing it. Prior to that role, Dave was the CEO of privately owned Silver Airways which he successfully turned around, launched as an independent carrier, and recapitalized. This role came after Dave’s remarkable tenure as the Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, the national airline of Fiji. There, he took an airline from record-breaking losses to one that in just three years achieved record profits—profits which continue to grow to this day. In addition to his various CEO roles, Dave Pflieger also served as the Vice President of Operations and as a B767/B757 Captain for a $1.2 billion airline that operated thirty-six B757 aircraft and carried 7 million passengers annually. Dave was also the Director of Flight Safety for Delta Air Lines where he helped the airline achieve one of its safest years of operation.
Before he led businesses, David Pflieger was the General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Legal & Government Affairs at Virgin America. At Virgin, Dave not only led all legal, political, regulatory, and public relations efforts that allowed the airline to be granted U.S. government certification—despite extremely heavy opposition from almost every major U.S. airline, he also worked closely with the Board and Shareholders to later restructure the company and raise additional capital from its private equity and hedge fund investors. Dave was also an A320 Captain, and he piloted the airline’s inaugural flight from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco.
At Delta, Dave Pflieger was the company’s chief operations attorney responsible for handling everything from major aircraft accidents (Swiss Air 111—a Delta codeshare flight) to FAA and DOT litigation, in addition to flying as a B737 pilot.
Before joining Delta, David Pflieger was a lawyer for King & Spalding, a top 50 U.S. law firm, where he advised clients and assisted with trial preparation and other matters in the firm’s Litigation, Intellectual Property, and White Collar Crime practice groups. Prior to entering private practice, Dave also worked for a U.S. District Court Judge and a Georgia Supreme Court Justice.
Before entering the airline industry, Dave Pflieger was an officer and command pilot in the U.S. Air Force where he was promoted well ahead of his peers to be a B-52 Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot, and Executive Officer. As a strategic bomber pilot, Dave was responsible for commanding and training air crews engaged in nuclear weapons alert, conventional bombing, and cruise missile missions.