FIJI has lost a legendary aviation leader who had contributed immensely to the development of the travel and tourism industry.
A former pilot, sports administrator and businessman, Don Collingwood, 69, passed away at the Lautoka Hospital on Saturday.
Mr Collingwood founded the Sunflower Airlines in 1980 and then the Pacific Flying School in Nadi in 1985. The Sunflower — a domestic airline in Fiji was later known as Sun Air before being bought by Air Pacific.
Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said the aviation icon had left behind a huge vacuum hard to be filled.
He said he had known Mr Collingwood since the 1970s.
"Mr Collingwood was not only a pioneer in the travel industry but was also running a tourist resort for some years before joining the aviation industry," said Mr Seeto. The funeral is expected to be held tomorrow in Nadi.