People do business with human beings not companies. And the people are the most valuable asset of a company. Elenoa Baselala introduces some of those who have taken up new appointments to drive the performance of the companies they work for.
THE national airline announced two new appointments during the week. Aubrey Swift has been appointed the chief commercial officer while Jay Shree Raniga is the airline's first-ever general counsel.
A statement from the airline said Mr Swift was an experienced airline executive with over 20 years in the industry in commercial roles at British Airways, Virgin Blue and V Australia — where he helped design, launch and grow the carrier. He has worked across low cost and full service airline business models, selling direct and through all segments of the travel trade. Recently, he has been consulting for airlines and airports, working on a variety of network planning strategy projects. Mr Swift will be responsible for marketing, planning, revenue management, freight, global sales and all other commercial activities of the airline. He is taking over the role from interim chief commercial officer Subodh Karnik, who has been looking after Air Pacific's commercial operations while the airline worked on recruiting someone to fill the role.
Mr Karnik will continue to assist the airline with several pending and new corporate initiatives.
"Aubrey brings with him a strong understanding of the South Pacific as well as an innovation and a start-up mind-set that will help us build on our existing strengths, re-launch us as Fiji Airways next year, and move into our next stage of commercial evolution as we focus on more airline partnerships, more efficient distribution strategies, growing our fleet, and ultimately new destinations," Dave Pflieger, Air Pacific's managing director and chief executive officer said.
"We welcome Aubrey and his family to Air Pacific and thank Subodh for his incredible assistance during this time." Air Pacific recently announced plans to revert to its former 1951 name, Fiji Airways, and rebrand the airline to coincide with the delivery of brand-new A330-200 aircraft that start arriving in 2013.
Ms Raniga was promoted to the role from her previous position as senior staff attorney, a role which was also a first for the airline.
"Jay Shree has been doing a superb job for the airline since joining Air Pacific as our first-ever in-house attorney," Mr Pflieger said.
"She has been leading our legal and government affairs team since 2010 and in that capacity, she has been responsible for all legal matters related to board and shareholder governance, local and international regulatory issues, labour and employment relations, intellectual property, and all litigation. In addition, Jay Shree has also handled the review and revision of the hundreds of contracts we have with our staff, vendors, contractors, and airline suppliers — a key component of our turnaround strategy."
Ms Raniga joined Air Pacific in June, 2010. An airline statement said she had led and oversaw critical negotiations and contract drafting for the company's new Airbus A330 aircraft, new Rolls-Royce engines, A330 aircraft financing, and a new world-wide reservations contract with Amadeus, and the leasing agreements for a new Air Pacific Boeing 737-800 aircraft as well as two replacement DH-6 Twin Otters that were added to Pacific Sun's fleet in 2011.
"With Air Pacific well into the final phase of our turnaround plan, which includes a complete rebranding of the airline, Jay Shree will continue to play a key role on our senior leadership as we work on numerous projects that are essential for our transition to new A330 aircraft and 'Fiji Airways' next year," Mr Pflieger said.
Originally from Nadi and the daughter of Pradhuman Raniga, a former parliamentarian from Nadi, Ms Raniga is a gold medal winning graduate of the University of the South Pacific, before she joined Suva law firm, Howards, in 2005 as an associate specialising in general legal and litigation matters.
As Air Pacific's general counsel, Ms Raniga will continue to provide legal advice and counsel on all matters related to airline operations and management, and she will also remain the company's corporate secretary.