Viljoen: Airline remains committed

FIJI Airways remains committed to recruiting locals and training staff members to help the company grow.

This was highlighted by company CEO and managing director, Andre Viljoen, while speaking at the Fiji Airways Group’s 2017 financial results announcement in Nadi, this week.

Mr Viljoen said the company identified people as one of the company’s critical success factors.

“Our intention is to attract and develop our people by firstly employing Fijians,” he said.

“Fiji Airways remains one of the largest employers in the country with 1384 staff. With the growth, we are planning for the future, we will continue increasing.

“Between 2016 and 2018, 155 Fijians have joined Fiji Airways as flight attendants supporting our growing operations and in 2017 alone, we had 3000 applicants for 18 new positions.

“We’ve also, on the leadership front, have ensured that as we’re progressing, we have more locals as executive general managers and today we have four locals, including one woman.

“So, we’ve made good progress in terms of the employment side for this key strategic objective.”

To help develop staff members, Mr Viljoen said they were running an extensive, systemic leadership education program, for which they had enlisted the services of world-renowned service expert Ron Kaufman.

“As you know, the Ron Kaufman Up! Your Service program is part of that systemic leadership development so it’s about systemic leadership and this is the culture creation that will underpin the continuous service improvement.

“In terms of retaining people, we had two major achievements last year.

“Firstly, the job grading system was completed and implemented and about 65 per cent of the staff, received increments to align them with market salaries.

“With regards to the Flight Attendant Trade Union, during the year, we also successfully completed negotiations for the three year renewal of their collective agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 2018.”