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Pflieger leaves

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, February 09, 2013

AIR Pacific's managing director and chief executive officer David Pflieger will step down from the position when his contract expires in May this year.

He has also resigned from his post as chairman of Tourism Fiji and has expressed his intentions to return to the United States.

The announcement of his departure was made yesterday via a press statement by Air Pacific chairman Nalin Patel.

"Given the exceptional results Dave has delivered, it is with immense gratitude for his extraordinary service that we have reluctantly accepted his decision to relinquish the helm of Air Pacific and return home," Mr Patel said.

"I would like to say vinaka vakalevu to our board, to everyone in Fiji and to the people of Fiji for an incredible three years.

"Fiji is an amazing country and I am humbled by and grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that my family and I enjoyed and will never forget," Mr Pflieger said.

Speaking to The Fiji Times, Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said the industry had hoped Mr Pflieger would have stayed another term.

"We are very sorry to see Dave to leave so soon," he said.

"He had just started the whole reform process in the national carrier and we were expecting him to have stayed another term to complete the important projects he had started, including the new fleet arrival, new routes, and also important initiatives like the branding of Tourism Fiji.

"We are sorry to see him go but I guess he said he is exploring new opportunities and we wish him well in his future endeavours."

Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said while Mr Pflieger was leaving the airline, he would continue to support the national carrier's development.

"His contract comes to an end in the beginning of May and will not be renewed as he has some other commitments. But Dave will be a close friend and partner in terms of seeing Air Pacific or Fiji Airways through this very exciting times," he said.

"He will continue to do that even after he leaves purely because he has developed a relationship with Fiji and Air Pacific."

Mr Pflieger's contract expires in May 1 this year.

During his term at the helm of the airline, Mr Pflieger was hailed for restoring Air Pacific to profitability in two years, reversing record operating losses of $12million and $91million to a $16million profit for the last financial year.

He also played a pivotal role in the airline's development plans to modernise its fleet by leading the landmark acquisition and financing of the Air Pacific's first brand new wide-body A330 aircraft scheduled for March, May and November this year.

He was also instrumental in rebranding Air Pacific to Fiji Airways, the name it was known by in the 1960s.

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