In 2010, David Pflieger assumed the role of Managing Director and CEO of Air Pacific, the national carrier of Fiji.
Within a year of his arrival, David Pflieger and his new team had turned the company around, reversing two consecutive years of significant losses and producing a year-end net profit of $24 million. This did not come easily, however. David and his team spent long hours executing an extensive strategy designed to improve the airline’s fortunes. With his tremendous leadership skills and a dedicated staff behind him, David was able to accomplish this.
Prior to his position at Air Pacific, David Pflieger spent six years as part of the original executive team at Virgin America in San Francisco and was responsible for turning the airline into one of the most recognized airlines in America. To this day, Virgin America is one of the largest American airlines, and a great deal of that success can be attributed to the groundwork laid by David and his team.
As a Vice President and, later, a Senior Vice President, Mr. Pflieger created and oversaw the plan to launch the airline. He also led the highly contested, but ultimately successful, certification of the new low-cost airline by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Through the opposition of several other major airlines, David was able to lead Virgin’s march to become a certified airline, thus proving his grace under pressure.
As Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs, David Pflieger reported directly to the CEO and the board of directors and advised them on a wide variety of commercial and corporate matters, including complex shareholder, vendor, and government negotiations and agreements. In addition, David played a key role in Virgin America’s growth to become an award-winning company.
Before joining Virgin America, David Pflieger served as Vice President of Operations of Song, LLC, Delta Air Lines’ low-cost subsidiary. At Song, David’s efforts with front-line managers and employees contributed to the airline’s eventual recognition as one of the top five U.S. airlines by Travel & Leisure magazine. David’s career with Delta included work both as a B737 pilot and as the company’s Operations Attorney. In his initial executive role at Delta, as Director of Flight Safety, David Pflieger restructured the Flight Safety Department and helped lead the airline to one of its safest years of operations.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David Pflieger was one of five midshipmen chosen from his class of 1,049 to be cross-commissioned to the U.S. Air Force. While serving as one of Strategic Air Command’s youngest nuclear B-52 aircraft commanders, he led various crews to win a number of Best B-52 Crew awards. David Pflieger also won an Air Force Commendation Medal for saving a B-52 and its crew.
Clearly David has had phenomenal success throughout his entire career. He has also served at the executive level for other airlines before in order to assist in company restructuring and re-branding, which David has ultimately succeeded in.
David’s drive and talent for identifying and assessing issues within a company are unparalleled and are only part of the reason why he has become a thought leader and respected veteran in the aviation industry. David is currently the Airline Advisor for the World Bank Group.