As President & CEO of Ravn Air Group in Alaska, David “Dave” Pflieger has held executive positions at seven different airlines including Delta Air Lines, Song, Virgin America, Fiji Airways, Silver Airways, and Larry Ellison’s Hawaii Island Air.
During his tenure at Virgin America, David Pflieger led the company to become the first airline in the U.S. to register its greenhouse gas emissions. More specifically, Virgin America was the first airline in the country to report its third-party verified carbon footprint in accordance with the globally accepted standards of The Climate Registry in 2008. The greenhouse gas emissions reported represented the environmental emissions from the entire Virgin America organization, including flight, ground, and corporate operations. The data was gathered with the help of the EPA to identify the sources of emissions, devise ways to reduce emissions, and track progress.
This practice of reporting greenhouse gas emissions helped the airline track and significantly reduce its greenhouse gas footprint. Notably, in its first year of reporting, Virgin America’s organization-wide carbon emissions per 1,000 seat miles were 166.24 metric tons.
Six years later in 2014, the organizations’ carbon emissions per 1,000 seat miles were down to 133.80 metric tons.
In addition, once the company realized that older fleets were neither fuel efficient nor good for the environment — due to high carbon emissions— it made a huge investment in new aircraft and a younger fleet.
As a result of that decision, Virgin now has one of the country’s youngest fleets, which consumes, on average, 15 percent less fuel and has 15% lower GHGs than other domestic U.S. fleets.
Faced with the most financially tumultuous period in its 60 year history, the Air Pacific Board of Directors and the national airline’s major shareholders, the Fijian government and Qantas, sought a skilled businessman with extensive experience in the aviation sector to return the struggling airline to profitability. They found this individual in David Pflieger, a former attorney, pilot, and business leader who advanced from the law, safety, and flight operations departments of Delta Air Lines to serve as a founding officer and senior vice president at Virgin America.
Drawing on knowledge garnered over the course of more than two decades in the aviation industry, Mr. Pflieger orchestrated the complete turnaround and revitalization of Air Pacific, including its rebranding to Fiji Airways. While the company’s previous two years of operations had yielded operating losses in excess of $100 million, the new CEO managed to achieve an annual profit of $16 million in just two years.
One of the many elements of Fiji Airways’ extensive turnaround and rebranding was the expansion of its existing fleet. In 2013, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama attended the maiden flight of the airline’s new Airbus A330-200s aircraft in Toulouse, France, marking a moment of great pride for the national carrier and the country as a whole.
After guiding the successful turnaround of Fiji Airways, David Pflieger opted not to renew his CEO contract when it concluded, so he could return to his family in the United States. Mr. Pflieger agreed, however, to remain on the Board of Fiji Airways and to help the airline search for a new leader who could carry on his legacy of success. In late 2013, with the airline completely fixed and revitalized, the Board and Mr. Pflieger appointed Stefan Pichler, formerly the CEO of Jazeera Airways, to the position of managing director and chief executive officer of Fiji Airways. Mr. Pichler had the honor of announcing how successful the airline turnaround he inherited had been when it declared record profits and profit sharing for all employees–all of which was due to three years of hard work, focus, and dedication by the team at Fiji Airways.
David, or Dave, Pflieger has worked in the commercial airline industry since 1998, having overseen operations at several major airlines, including Delta, Virgin America, Fiji Airways, and now Hawaii Island Air throughout his career. Dave Pflieger,was also the president and CEO of Silver Airways, an airline based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In October 2014, Dave’s efforts led the rapidly expanding Silver Airways joined in its ninth airline partnership with Alaska Airlines.
The contract between the Alaska Airlines and Silver Airways allows travelers to fly through Alaska Airlines’ own port cities as well as locations serviced by Silver Airways in Florida and the Bahamas, opening a larger number of travel opportunities with the two on both sides of the country. The partnership also simplifies transfers between the two airlines, making luggage pickup easy with just one check-in and baggage check necessary.
Silver Airways currently maintains similar partnerships with several other airlines, including Delta, JetBlue, American Airlines, and U.S. Airways, in addition to a handful of international partners.
Executive Dave Pflieger is an established leader in the airline industry. David Pflieger has served multiple airlines, including Virgin America, Delta, and Air Pacific, Ltd. In 2013, Dave Pflieger joined Silver Airways as its president and CEO.
At the end of 2013, Silver Airways announced its newest partnership with JetBlue Airways. The collaboration makes it possible for Silver Airways passengers to connect between JetBlue destinations. Aimed at improving customer satisfaction and establishing brand loyalty, the ticketing partnership opens up new opportunities to service customers traveling throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Silver Airways provides flights to, among other places, the Bahamas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Georgia. Branded in silver and charcoal gray, the airline stands for quality, professionalism, vibrancy, and trust. In 2013, Silver Airways earned the Regional Airline of the Year Award from Air Transport World and made the list of Top 10 U.S. Airlines as voted on by Conde Nast Traveler’s readers.