#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Fiji's Air Pacific: Dollars on the horizon but staff on the run

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fiji's Air Pacific: Dollars on the horizon but staff on the run

PIE IN THE SKY? Khaiyum and Pflieger. pic The Jet.
The suggested success of Air Pacific with its upgrade and replacement fleet for subsidiary, Pacific Sun, is a far cry from the story of discontented engineers and pilots emerging from behind the scenes.

Fiji media yesterday quoted CEO Dave Pflieger as tipping a turnaround for Pacific Sun after years of consecutive losses, because of the arrival this week of another DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 aircraft.

With four Twin Otters now in the fleet, Pflieger says the airline is assured of a better service for its customers and stakeholders.

But word from behind the scenes paints a picture of discontent and disarray.

Air Pacific pilots asked to see Pflieger a few weeks ago. They were concerned so many senior and experienced licenced engineers were resigning from the company. 

Thirteen engineers who've served the company for 20-plus years have so far decided to leave because nobody in the airline knew who or how many staff would be affected by the company's reform plans. 

That's half the number of engineers in the airline's aircraft maintenance team. And more are expected to be leaving soon. In fact, we've been told that when Air Pacific said redundancy was imminent and called for voluntary retirement, it was inundated with more applications for retirement than what it wanted.

Already sacked or forced to resign without warning were 10 senior managers, replaced by 20 expatriate consultants who were housed, fed, and paid inflated allowances and salary far higher than what local managers were paid.

All of these managers have since been snapped up by regional airlines and companies, where they've been given better deals and pay, so lucrative it brings into question Pflieger's argument Fiji's local managers are  worthless.

The pilots are concerned safety is being compromised, and rightly so. These engineers, who have gone to Oman and Papua new Guinea were the country's senior engineers and were certified for all crafts owned by the airline. The engineers who are now in PNG include Maika Bovoro, Michael Broadbridge, Paul Watkins, Ashwin Sharan and four others. In Oman is Walter Southey, Edward Dass, Frank Ralawa, Shalen Sagar and William Yabaki.

Sources say there were 26 LAME's in Air Pacific - with 13 gone that number has been reduced by 50 per cent.  According to the engineers, Pflieger has gone on a recruiting mission. It's anyone's guess what the replacement's will cost the airline and the nation. 

Overseas engineers are specialists for specific crafts only - and they demand more in terms of salary and allowance. Pflieger was obviously not happy with Fiji's multi-skilled engineers who were certified and internationally recognised for their ability to service all the ranges of craft that country have.

Staff at the airline call the third floor of their complex in Naisoso, the White House: too many expats and too many dalliances with young new recruits at managerial level. And they believe, despite his CV, that Pflieger is not a pilot and does not have management background. Behind his back, pilots ridicule his lack of knowledge on air space. He asked pilots why they paid the Philipines so much annually just to fly through their air space. He asked them to find a path that will deviate and fly around the Phillipine air space. The pilots had to explain that doing that would burn more fuel and cost three times as much.

Pflieger's move to bring in consultants is, of course, supported by both the dictator Frank Bainimarama and illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. Neither have stopped to ask why a man with such an impressive CV needs 20 consultants to tell him how to run a company.

Staff now believe that Pflieger's true profession and talent may truly be in interior decorating, a skill honed in the days after his wife returned to America.

The story goes that Pfleiger bought and placed at the entrance of the Air Pacific comlex, of all things a doormat: a rather special doormat, one with the Virgin and Jetstar logo on it. He expected staff to wipe their feet on the strategically-placed rug but refused to answer staff questions about how feet on rug would translate to more bums on seats.     

Editor's Note: Air Pacific operates B747, B767, and B737 aircraft to 18 cities in 12 countries, including Hong Kong, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Samoa. According to figures, it employs more than 950 employees, earns gross revenue of F$600 million, and contributes 11% to Fiji's GDP.


Anonymous said...

Jake says...

No surprise Fiji. This is what happens when you have a coup culture.

Coups are human made disasters and they bring about economic, social, and dmoestic disasters and evil.

Platform for real corruption, nepotism, race diviisions, non-accountability & non transparency, hatred, spite, unlawfulness, no law and order, judiciary interference etc etc.

Bottom line - unemployment.

Lets hope Fiji will not be like North Korea now as we see tax payers funding military.all resources diverted to military to keep them happy. Time will come when even the military will become hungry......

real action will flow......

be aware...

TURUKAWA said...

I am now tempted to use other airlines apart from air pacific to go overseas anytime, as i am worried about all of air pacific plane maintennece overall with this story.

Who is this new Air Pacific CEO Pffft..leqa and where they got him from? Any background check done done o this Mr Pfftt..leqa??

Another moron of a yes sir to frank & Khaiyum?

TURUKAWA said...

Go figure on Dave Pfftlevunaleqa resume on buss network social website LinkedIn:


I think Fiji can do better then that and get someone local.

moce jo..valoloma o viti.

Anonymous said...

Consultants are meant to stay only for 6months and train a local to take over their position. These consultants are on a huge salaries, they are housed at Denarau, they all have rentals cars and of course massive entertainment allowance. Imagine how many locals you can employ with that???

Phlieger spent FJD$10,000 to spray paint his car as he didnt like the colour and claims its part of his contract - who does that??

The entire board of Air Pacific should be sacked as ulitmately they have approved all this. Its about time the board earn their Directors fees and add value to Air Pacifc growth.

Its sad to see Engineers and Pilots who have been loyal for decades leave due to the poor working conditions. Pfliger wants to sue the PNG airline for poaching - waste more money, just being a typical Amercian!

One has to question whether Pflieger really has Air Pacific's best interest at heart!

Anonymous said...

Don spare a thought for any senior Air Pacific staff, they are the ones who are the cause of the veikilai sickness that plagues the company.
If you want a job there or a promotion, forget about it unless you know someone high up. The nepotism is sickening.

No different at Pacific Sun. Your qualifications mean nthing... its all veikilai. That's why so many father and son pilots in that company.
Ask someone there about the pilots who flew drunk and were fired... NOT. It's not what you know, its who you know.

Bring in the palagi guys, they will at least hire people on merit. Let's not judge Pfliger in such a short time... give him 2-4yrs. Cant turn around a multimillion dollar giant company in one or 2 years. Let the results speak. If he fails, then boot him out for sure.

Anonymous said...

Integrity can be described as making your beliefs and your actions line up................Pflieger you are a fake and the rug will soon be pulled from under your feet - damned Yankee carpetbagger!

Keep The Faith said...

Air Pac's Pflieger is either very confident or very stupid.

If there are repurcussions from the very workers that they depend on to bring tourist arrival numbers up, they can collectively forget about more tourism dollars.

This must be one of the reasons why Khaiyum is muzzling the unions.

Anonymous said...

If the staff you have is not making a profit then obviously something must be wrong.

Non-performing staff should be made redundant. Prodcutive staff retained.

Guess we have to wait to see the results.

Anonymous said...

With monkeys running the airline, no wonder why locals who are the owners of the Airline through the ownership by the Govt of its shares, end up paying enormous amounts on air fares to subsidise for low fares by tourists who earn much higher wages abroad.

Or is it that this new CEO is trying to run down the Airline further so bad for Air Pac that they sell their shares to Qantas to ponopolise their routes, given that they could not sell off their shares recently to Air Pac.

Varani. said...

Maybe Pfieger is discussing with Khaiyum the best place to place Air Pacifics new swastika logo?

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, just flew Jetstar and Pflieger's face is plastered on their toilet paper.

tick...tock...tick...tock - "Pflieger the fraud" is about to be exposed.

Anonymous said...

Well I can also get some impressive CV's online now days.What counts most is experience which money cannot buy.God gives us WISDOM to discern these things. Know God Know Peace,No God No Peace.

Anonymous said...

If you wonder how unimpressed Air Pacific staff are with Doormat (for his dictator mates) Pflieger, spare a thought for the acute discomfort of Air Pacific's part-owners Qantas who are wishing they had nothing to do with this stain on Pacific democracy. The Qantas Board goes for their sick bags every time the name Air Pacific comes up in the minutes.

Anonymous said...

air pacific went in 90 million loss last year.
well long as ag/bai fill the pockets that matters now in fiji.
they dont care about fiji.they worry about the cuts in the piggy bank of bai/ag.

Anonymous said...

dalliances with young new recruits meaning???

Anonymous said...

hope mrs vulaono n mrs qiliho were not made redundant ,,,lol

Anonymous said...

Pflieger is another idiot involved in the chaos of the Fijian economy and infrastructure that is supervised by self-appointed narcissists of the illegal regime.

Anonymous said...

isa..... isa..... Air PATHETIC!!!

Anonymous said...

Fiji wake up says...

Come on Fiji....

Why is there huge losses everywhere? why cant people see that its because of the coup - full stop.

Nowdays people (eg. CEO FNPF Aisake Taito & his AG )like to blame past governments and successful people who have proved their worth in the building of Fiji's economy instead of ideally blaming the coup of Fiji's wows and economic disasters. People like AG & taito were still pissing around in their pants when Fiji economy came into being and gave them an eye to see.

We bet you can't have the bloody balls to tell your master that the coup is not good for Fiji. have the balls to say is one thing and having any ball at all is another - moce jo.

Anonymous said...

@9:52 PM. air pacific went in 90 million loss last year.

Did you know they were (still are?) wanting to sell their 50% stake in Sofitel and wanting the same amount they originally spent?

The idiots should have known that:

- first, hotels and airlines are not a good mix - airlines must stay away from investing in hotels.

Study your history - all airlines that went ininto hotels had to sell them. Recent example, sale of ANA Hotel in Sydney to Singaporean Government!

- second, the developer or first owner of the hotel ALWAYS LOSES money, big time. The second owner picks it up for a pittance!

example - Denarau, Japanese spent $300 million, sold for $150 million! - ANA HOTEL, sold for $200 million! Where was the Fiji Provident Fund?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.48.....good call.
But reality says that Bainivore himself is putting people in Boards....the recent Fijian Holding Board........Makasiale has just been replaced by Ilaisa Mawi.
Why?....obvious....From the Yatu Lau saga...remember?
Thats why Bainivore has to go now.

Anonymous said...

thugs planning for the next move

Anonymous said...

no wonder there's been delays of flights recently.no good this kind,if there's less senior engineers handling the maintenance..then the flights would be unsafe for passengers..maybe its advisable people use other flights,just to be on the safe side..

Anonymous said...

We should not be surprised at what we are seeing and experiencing in Fiji.n This is nothing new in an unstable economy or society as a whole.

The saying "Birds of a feather flock together" but even this saying is an insult to all the birds of the world.

Fiji, in all its national life so far, is now at its worst situation economically and is morally bankrupt because of the leadership in Government.

We have a very questionable leadership worthless of mention under the Fiji Military that is made up, quite frankly, of individuals the majority of whom could not make it to the normal qualifications-required employment sector because they have nothing to compete with (worthless qualifications) to get a real job or vocation.

Now with so much and so full of Dutch Courage through our firearms, are taking positions they were only dreaming of.

Yes, that is the simple truth and now supported by opportunitistic hangers-on (like A.S. Khaiyum, A. Qetaki, I. Kubuabola, J. Serulagilagi, I. Mataitoga, N. Shameem and others), and unscrupulous businessmen who care for no other (Tappoos, etc).

The environment they have created have drawn in to them like magnet people like them; conmen and conwomen from overseas and like them now sit in high positions drawing salaries they do not deserve.

Yes, birds of a feather flock together...

Anonymous said...

@6:58 AM. Gerald Barrack was chairman when Air Pac went into 50/50 partnership with Colonial in Sofitel. Have you noticed every company BARRACK was chairman of has either gone bust or about to? For one thing, he sat as chairman of Air Pac for far too long. He's not even capable of directing any company, much less chairing one. Ratu Mara should have kept this complete and utter idiot at bay.

Anonymous said...

Everything that Bai is doing is not for the economy but to save his own skin from jail.
That's all it is.
He moves this person; that person etc etc just so that in the hope that when the cookie crumbles it crumbles in his favor.
He doesn't care about the Fijian people. He just cares about himself.
He is one big conman!
The right thing to do now is Armed Intervention by the US & led by Aust & NZ.
All the Democracy movements overseas should push for this.

-Valataka na Dina.

Devious Aunty Bano said...


KODAGODA is a Sri Lankan Expatriate. He is Chief Executive Officer of CJ Patel.

CJ Patel are substantial owners of FIJI SUN.

Fiji Sun is exclusive advertising medium by Government.

Kodagoda is Chairman of Fiji National Provident Fund.

He made the comment at May meeting of Fiji National Provident Fund that if he has way he would implement Fiji National Provident Fund reforms as from TOMORROW.

Why did he make the comment?

Primarily to “SUCK” up to Government.

To blindly support Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to keep his position secured and keep exclusive advertising of Government in Fiji Sun.

Thus keeping his job with CJ Patel secure.

THESE Sri Lankans are sycophants and are vexation to the spirit.

People of Fiji beware of such people.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Dave can go on and on..he thinks being an American he can do better than the locals? matani dena sara.
Manoa could have been the best candidate for CEO,
Dave Ulupepa.. BAKU

Anonymous said...

@ 6.58 am -- you got brains man! Absolutely correct. 25 years ago, I told my brother-in-law that the bird Island next to Toberua can be developed but the initial infrastructure cost does not justify the final rate of return. This is the kind of projects that the person who comes with ideas, take $10m loan complete the project 3/4 way and go into receivership. Then next company is formed or business sold off at lower price so that the next company can justify rate of return to have that sustainable.

So who losses - FDB to w/off $5m for the unpaid loan. He told me offf saying before you get into the business you are already thinking of crooking ideas. He could not understand the commercial sense of commerce.

This is exactly the type of exeggerated costs FNPF and Sofitel are involved in by the good look paper presentation to dumb politicians who influenced the decisions to overcapitalised projects.

And yes - you are right - it is thedown under projects is what FNPF should be using their investment in rather than be the starter company as millions of capital will not get undervalued even in a market crash.

Pitty they do not look out for people with brains! and when they do have them, they will not listen as feel their job is threatened...

Anonymous said...

Isa Viti! This coup was masterminded by people who wanted to make a killing financially. Consultants coming into Fiji now are just parasites - hired to promote the interests of the coup beneficiaries with no necessary skills.

Nothing is done for the good of the country. Khaiyam, Shameem, Yabaki, their families and comrades have taken ownership of the coup and have kicked out in the cold the Labour Party and the Mara-Ganilau clan - their co-conspirators. They have provided more lucrative business for the dictator and have been favoured.

Anonymous said...

heard this story that CEO are getting all experts from the USA to work with high paid salaries.....
Fiji managers are worhtless! yeah wait till the company is bankrupt,and the airline has an accident ....heard to he was called in by baini for a ear bashing ...!only ask Khayium why this US guy is still working and making comments of such are they superior beings .

Anonymous said...

Those conslutants that replaced those managers party from mon-sun
non stop from there high income ...can anyone FICAC go and investigate these shit here .This expats will just stand up and leave while we will ponder what had happen to this successfull airline.

Anonymous said...

Piggy better fix the Air Pacific.
Otherwise it will be another nail in his coffin.

Anonymous said...

Air Pathetic as I always tell everyone unfortunately Air Pac has never been the same being a Fiji born Kiwi employed by one of the World's leading Airline Etihad Airways as Inflight Service Manager in Abu Dhabi I would have to say Air Pacific is no longer a a pride of the pacific ,crew are rude and no customer service experience,I do recruitment for my airline as well managing flight crew it is important for someone to employ people with experience in customer service of flying ..being a flight crew or cabin crew is no easy task ..so the current CEO needs to take a a closer look at what his doing and come down to earth or else Air Pac is gone,I believe he was with Virgin America mm budget airline haha Bainimarama needs to learn go back to School

Anonymous said...

. . . IN THE PICTURE phleiger is pointing and saying "so you want me to put the swastica logo under the wing, just there?"
-Sydney Tourist

Anonymous said...

Manoa Kamikamica should have been CEO,,,,guess what all the kailoma, kai jaina and kai valagi sidelined him and blocked his way to the top.
Its good most of them now kicked out. There were people there who had Manager title but no one reporting to them. Anyway - former CEO was smart,,,,saw the coming collapse n took off. Pfileger a no hope,,,,,,Board had no choice as applicant range poor ,,,,,most saw the economic collapse coming....
Time to get back to reality for FJ staff!

Anonymous said...

The so called NEW Pac Sun aircaft have numerous defects on a daily basis and are older than some of the aircraft already here,they only have refurbished interiors,so false advertising for sure.An engineers nightmare so think again before you travel.Sources have said Pac Sun management have no idea on how to run an airline and are taking short cuts to get these NEW/OLD aircraft operational with most of the senior engineers gone.The last airline a senior Pac Sun manager was involved with crumbled.Start the timer for Pac Sun.Sources say Air Pacific apparently is recruiting more expatriate pilots.Certainly a block in progression for any local in the company which will only see more locals leave and our National Airline run by expats.I pity the locals in the Airline and believe we as the travelling public have a right to know of these issues and only hope Govt realise too that safety could be compromised especially when morale is down at all levels.

Anonymous said...

At June 30, 2011 11:53 AM

I agree it's great most got kicked out. More still need to go including locals like Watson Seeto and expats like Phleiger and his North American hangers ons. But Manoa wasn't sidelined by "kailomas, Indians or whites". He left for greener pastures. As simple as that. Like any other race indegenous Fijians are still involved in a lot of backstabbing and nepotism in Air Pacific and Pacific Sun.

Anonymous said...

Poor on-board customer service, rude flight attendants and just overall poor service by Air Pacific for years has come back to haunt them. Senior management have been sleeping on the job for years and is to blame. The total culture of the business needs to change and more customer oriented. Senior management building their empires is not good for shareholders and staff and that needs to be thrown out.

Pffgler by the look of his resume had done a con job on the Airpac Board Human Resource Commitee - too many questions asked by this moron and his circus of consulants. Makes me wonder what international airline experience they have. Virgin is a low cost carrier for people who want to spend $100 and fly. Fiji is a tourist destination and Air Pacific a leisure carrier. A tourist will spend $100 in taxi to get to an airport to catch his Air Pacific flight to Fiji.

Until and unless conman Pfligre understands this critical point, his low cost experience is worth shit to Air Pacific which is a legacy carrier by virtue of international routes, markets and passenger mix.

Just another expat morom who is destroying our nation airline. Air Pacific staff should report him to the FBI, US Trade Unions and International Human Rights for abuse of worker's rights and his pig headed management style.

Anonymous said...

Anon 04:22pm

Seqa bro. Asenaca Caucau leads the pack. There is no bigger black arse than Asenaca Caucau's in the whole world. Losalini and Jyoti come behind her in comparison by a mile.