David Pflieger Bids Farewell to a Renewed Fiji Airways


Fiji Airways

A few days before returning to America to begin the next leg of his career at Miami-based Silver Airways, former Fiji Airways executive David Pflieger was asked to join his staff at the company’s hangar in Nadi, Fiji. The event was planned as a send-off for the widely-acclaimed aviation business leader, who three years prior had accepted a contract to serve as the firm’s managing director and CEO. When Dave arrived in 2010, he faced the daunting task of leading the company out of a significant financial crisis, but he ultimately succeeded at orchestrating a turnaround that positioned Fiji Airways as a successful and internationally competitive company.

Mr. Pflieger described the privilege and honor of working with the skilled Fiji Airways team, who in turn highlighted many of the accomplishments achieved under his leadership. With David Pflieger at the helm, the airline brought in $16.5 million in annual profits just a few years after reporting losses of $91.8 million. Behind this impressive renewal were improvements to customer service and reliability, which included a large investment in the airline’s new fleet—the first-ever fleet of purchased wide-body aircraft. Fiji Airways also increased its investment in its employees, establishing first-ever performance-incentive and profit-sharing programs.

One of the more noteworthy changes introduced during the Fiji Airways turnaround was the establishment of a corporate social responsibility program. In addition to formalizing the airline’s commitment to causes such as the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) and the Mamanuca Environment Society, the initiative led to the development of Fiji’s first-ever community health & wellness clinic.

The numerous improvements spearheaded by Mr. Pflieger during his time at Fiji Airways helped it to establish a global reputation for performance quality and customer service. During his tenure, the airline received its first accolades from Condé Nast Traveler, making the publication’s list of the Top 10 Small Airlines for two consecutive years.


Increased Carry-On Sizes

Since the dawn of the airline industry, people have needed a solution for transporting their belongings on flights. And while a fair amount of luggage and belongings can be taken and stored in the bowels of the plane. But what about the more fragile belongings that we want to bring with us? This is exactly where carry-on baggage comes into play. We can bring our smaller luggage with us and store it into the overhead compartment. Unfortunately, however, most times, the standard carry-on sizes on most major airlines still do not quite cut it. But, two airlines are looking to change that.

According to a recent report from TravelSkills.com, two major American airlines have expanded their accepted carry-on sizes. Virgin America is now accepting carry-on luggage with dimensions of 10x16x24. To put that into perspective, most major airlines only allow carry-on luggage with the dimensions 9x14x22. That may not sound like very much on paper, but when you are already stressed because you have just waited for what feels like hours in baggage check-in and security screening and are concerned about whether or not your carry-on can fit into the overboard compartment, those few inches absolutely make a difference.

For all of you frequent flyers, if Virgin’s new dimensions sound like a dream come true for your bulky laptop bag or suitcase, Alaska Airlines is going a step further. With a whopping 10x17x24, Alaska Airlines is certainly the leader in spacious carry-on sizes. To make matters even better, Alaska recently announced that Virgin, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, would be implementing the newer, more spacious sizes soon.

The newer, more generous dimensions can be attributed to Alaska and Virgin’s new Airbus fleet that comes fully loaded with over-sized overhead compartments.

While I certainly understand how this news may seem strange or miniscule to those of you who do not fly very often or have carry-on luggage, but for those that do, it is almost life saving. This will certainly win Alaska and Virgin some well-deserved bonus points from travelers.

from Dave Pflieger Airline Advisor at World Bank Group http://ift.tt/2sRRBSj

Biometrics in Aviation

I’ve mentioned before the growing interest in technology that our society has taken. Augmented and virtual reality are both taking the video game and entertainment industry by storm, autonomous driving and electric vehicles are the focal point of the automotive industry and almost every adult in the world has a smartphone either in hand or in their pocket. Technology has breached every market and industry in the world, and the airline industry is no exception.


Obviously, a major issue with both the airline and aviation industries is safety. We have all flown on an airplane at least once in our lives and we all know how nerve-racking or stressful the process can be, and that’s without worrying about your own personal safety. It seems as if technology could offer solutions to these problems. Biometrics are the latest trend to sweep the airline industry.


What are biometrics?


Biometrics are, in essence, the use of technology or computer software and hardware to authenticate and identify human information. Some of the most popular examples of biometrics include fingerprint scanners, facial recognition and voice recognition. And this is exactly the same technology that is being implemented in airlines across the world.


Just recently, JetBlue Airways announced that it will utilize biometrics sometime in June for passenger identification, specifically in Logan International Airport in Boston and Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba. And if that wasn’t enough, Delta Airlines has also begun testing biometrics in the form of fingerprint scanning. This has been reserved specifically for its Delta Sky Club Members, but the technology could make its way to the economy class.


This technology can not only help greatly increase security, it can also improve speed and efficiency. One of the largest gripes against airports is the infuriating amount of time it takes to simply get to the gate. With biometrics, passengers can go through check-in and security screenings much faster than before, due to either fingerprint or facial recognition, thus making the process much less stressful.


Technology has certainly proved to be a boon to human society, and biometrics is just another way that it is helping create a smoother, faster and more efficient society. And as somebody who travels quite frequently, I am more than thrilled for the possibilities.

from Dave Pflieger Airline Advisor at World Bank Group http://ift.tt/2rGVFFk

Electric Airplanes: The Future of Aviation



“Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats, we appreciate your patience as we refuel the plane,” might become a phrase of the past. Being replaced with “as we charge the batteries,” is seeming more likely each day. Two startups are beginning to dip their toes in electric airplanes, and they are confident, thanks to the support of some major airlines, that their vision will shortly become a reality.


Less than a month ago, young company, Zunam Aero announced their projections for a fleet of electric planes to be born in the next decade. However, international travelers shouldn’t get their hopes too high, as the company is only looking into getting their roots in domestic travel, specifically within a 700 mile, or less, travel distance. Their planes will likely seat only 10-50 people and have a key objective of reducing traffic in highly-populated areas. Zunum Aero’s efforts are currently being backed by Boeing and JetBlue, and their parent role includes hooking investors early enough to stay ahead of any technology curves to come along during the process.


In addition to creating a faster travel experience, the electric planes are guaranteed to better the environment as a whole. According to MIT Technology Review, the aviation industry is responsible for the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the entire country of Germany. By even cutting down impacts of fuel for one region of the world, better air quality conditions become more likely. Additionally, planes running on electricity create much less noise than those running on fuel, providing the ears of residents living near airports some relief.


As there are with any new concepts or inventions, the companies looking to delve into electric airplanes will face some obstacles. Having a plane that operates solely on batteries will rely heavily on the proper weight and distribution of every aspect of the model. As many of you know the battery in our cars or smartphones get easily overheated when using a great amount of energy. This being said, maintaining a relatively cool battery temperature is crucial in the process of bringing the electric airplanes to life.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, aviation has drastically changed in many ways throughout its century-long lifespan. With the serious reality of electric airplanes making waves, we can only expect to see these developments continue as the years go by. With the benefits that will come from battery powered flights, I truly hope this industry becomes successful in its initial growth period.

from Dave Pflieger Aviation http://ift.tt/2pCNyu2