Formerly the President and CEO of Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air), David “Dave” Pflieger led and oversaw highly effective restructuring, turnaround, and sale of Hawaii’s second largest airline in just 15 months. Dave Pflieger’s efforts and successful results were commended by the airline’s current owner and its new investors PaCap Aviation Finance, LLC, and Malama Investments, LLC. both of which are managed by Hawaii’s largest venture capital investment firm, PacifiCap.
Operating flights from Oahu to Maui and Lanai, Island Air is Hawaii’s largest regional airline. Having acquired new majority owners in early 2016, the airline now plans to boost the size of its fleet with additional aircraft that will allow it to expand to other neighbor island destinations. It was for that reason that Dave Pflieger and the new management team recently announced that Island Air would grow its network in mid-March with the addition of six new roundtrip flights between Lihue airport in Kauai and Honolulu in Oahu.
Originally founded as Princeville Airways, Island Air has served Hawaii for more than 35 years. The airline currently provides 224 flights weekly, and its primary aircraft, the ATR-72, accommodates 64 passengers, who are able to benefit from the airline’s low fares while traveling to neighboring islands. For more information about the corporation, visit www.islandair.com.
Island Air recently launched its 2016 Explorers Program with an opening orientation event drawing students from high schools and colleges throughout Oahu. Only 15 applicants will be accepted into the program, which offers a unique opportunity for young people to learn about jobs in the aviation industry.
Since Explorers was founded, 106 students have completed the 10-week course, and many have returned to the airline for internships and full-time jobs. The program became an official Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post in 2009. This year, it will offer students the same training in cockpit procedures that Island Air pilots receive. Students will look at visual displays of aircraft taxi, takeoff, landing, and approaches as they happen. The group will also practice reviewing checklists during different phases of flight operations.
The program is designed to expose youth between 14 and 20 years of age to careers in aviation, including airport operations and management, aircraft mechanics, and in-flight service. Weekly sessions will include visits from organizations such as Air Traffic Control, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration.
Island Air announced in late 2015 that it would begin voluntarily releasing monthly operational performance data in an effort to provide customers with a better picture of how well the airline is performing on its inter-island flights, and to show how its operational performance is now on par with that of most major airlines.
According to the data, in September 2015, 83 percent of Island Air’s flights arrived on time and it completed 99 percent of its scheduled flights. In October, 86 percent of the airline’s flights arrived on time, and, again, 99 percent of scheduled flights were completed as scheduled. (On-time arrivals are defined as flights reaching the gate within 14 minutes of the published arrival time).
Dave Pflieger, Island Air CEO, said in a press statement that the airline and its employees have worked hard to improve the airline over the past year to achieve such great results. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how well our team has been doing improving customer service and ensuring our passengers get to their destinations on time,” Pflieger said.
Dave Pflieger has held a number of executive roles in the aviation industry since 2002, most recently joining Island Air as the president and CEO as of September 2014. Shortly after his appointment, Dave Pflieger was instrumental in leading the company’s involvement in Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This past October, Island Air joined the Susan G. Komen Hawaii affiliate in its efforts to provide screening and essential treatments for breast cancer. Island Air, which provides more than 250 weekly interisland flights between Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Lanai, sponsored flight fees for patients receiving treatment for breast cancer, incurring no cost to families or the nonprofit.
Up to 75 percent of the nonprofit’s income goes directly to supporting community education and treatment programs for medically underserved women, but the travel costs associated with flying to Oahu for repeated screenings and treatments represent a significant barrier to individuals in economically disadvantaged communities. By partnering with the charity, Island Air continues to lend its support to Hawaii locals in their fight against cancer.