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.
In December 2008, Virgin America took new measures to ensure the environmental efficiency of its operations, becoming the first airline to allow passengers to offset their carbon emissions via in-flight touch screens. In a move guided by senior vice president David Pflieger, whose contributions to the airline included the creation of its numerous sustainability initiatives, the carrier partnered with carbon offset provider Carbonfund.org to offer passengers new options to reduce their carbon footprint.
Virgin America has operated with a commitment to sustainability since its inception, drawing on advanced avionics, cost index flying, and similar innovations to limit its environmental impact. With the announcement of its partnership with Carbonfund.org, the California-based air carrier invited its customers to join its efforts to preserve the environment. The carrier announced two new ways for customers to offset the CO2 emissions of their flight, first introducing the option on its ticket confirmation web page and later adding carbon offsetting to the touch-screen entertainment systems located on aircraft seatbacks.
With each pledge to offset their carbon emissions, passengers make a contribution to one of a number of carbon offset projects jointly chosen by Virgin America and Carbonfund.org. Vetted as environmentally impactful, these renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives carry the potential to spur measurable reductions in global carbon emissions. Initial offset projects included the Inland Empire Utilities Agency Biodigester, a Chino Basin, California, methane capture-and-elimination project capable of eliminating 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year, and IdleAire, which provides in-cabin electricity at truck stops to reduce drivers’ diesel fuel consumption and corresponding carbon emissions.
Virgin America made history in 2009 by becoming the first American airline to commit to reporting its greenhouse gas emissions. The California-based airline announced its decision to join the Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to standardizing the accurate measurement and reporting of carbon emissions, joining a diverse group of environmentally conscious organizations that now total over 300. Overseen by a board of directors comprising a number of North American states and provinces, the Climate Registry collects greenhouse gas emissions data from its member organizations on a yearly basis, holding each to the same comprehensive and transparent reporting standards.
As the only airline based in California, Virgin America took a natural interest in weaving sustainable practices into the heart of its business operations, noted David Pflieger, then Virgin America’s senior vice president of legal, government affairs, and sustainability. Previously, Dave Pflieger guided Virgin America to become a pioneer of sustainability in October 2008, when the passenger airline became the first in its sector to take part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders initiative. Due to its more recent commitment to the Climate Registry, the airline bolstered its sustainability efforts by agreeing to provide more extensive emissions reports that reflect adherence to the registry’s heightened guidelines.
The strict monitoring and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is just one of many sustainable initiatives adopted by Virgin America, which has operated with a commitment to environmental sustainability since its inception in 2007. In addition to emissions-reducing innovations such as single engine taxing, cost index flying, and advanced avionics, the carrier introduced a new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft boasting 25 percent more C02 efficiency than comparable fleets.
I’ve had the pleasure and oppourtunity to travel to some incredible places and decided to share some of my favorite travel quotes here with photos from my travels to help inspire you guys to get out there!