An aviation industry executive with a background as a U.S. Air Force B52 pilot and commercial attorney, David “Dave” Pflieger currently serves as the CEO and President of Ravn Air Group in Alaska. Previously, David Pflieger was the CEO and Managing Director of Fiji Airways, where he built and grew the country’s first-ever corporate social responsibility program.
In November 2018, Fiji Airways demonstrated its continued commitment to Dave Pflieger’s legacy by signing a deal in support of the Fijian Paralympic team, which is preparing for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The city was also the site of the Fijian team’s debut at the Games in 1964. The sponsorship deal, which designates the carrier as the Fijian Paralympians’ official airline, grants the team $50,000 annually for the next two years. To date, the team has brought home one medal: a gold for the high jump at the 2012 games in London. This marks the latest in a new line of community partnerships for Fiji Airways, which announced in 2017 that it would become a sponsor of the Fiji Rugby Union.
An accomplished airline executive, David “Dave” Pflieger brings more than three decades of experience to his position as the CEO and president of Ravn Air Group in Anchorage, Alaska. Under the direction of David Pflieger, Ravn Air Group employs approximately 1,000 employees who operate more than 3,000 flights per week throughout the state.
In October 2018, Ravn Air Group furthered its capacity to serve the people of Alaska when its owner, J.F. Lehman & Company, made a successful bid to buy the assets of regional Alaskan airline PenAir at a bankruptcy auction. Recently, the sale was approved by a court supervising PenAir’s bankruptcy proceedings. PenAir, which has been providing air service in Alaska for more than six decades, filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2017. The deal must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation before it becomes final.
At the bankruptcy auction, bidding for PenAir’s assets started at $6 million, with J.F. Lehman & Company and one other potential buyer bidding up the price to its eventual sale at $12.3 million.
As part of the deal, PenAir will become a subsidiary of Ravn Air Group, but it will continue to operate as its own company with its own employees and management structure. The arrangement will allow PenAir to continue serving the routes it has operated for decades while protecting numerous jobs and giving Ravn Air Group added flexibility and capacity throughout the state.
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Former US Air Force officer, B-52 Instructor Pilot, and airline pilot, David “Dave” Pflieger previously served as a corporate officer and attorney at Delta Air Lines and Virgin America. More recently, he was CEO of Fiji Airways, Silver Airways, and Hawaii Island Air.
David Pflieger currently holds those positions with air transportation and logistics services provider Ravn Air Group based in Anchorage, Alaska, the largest regional airline in our 49th State.
On August 13, 2018, Ravn Air Group announced that it had successfully completed the arduous International Air Transport Association (IATA) operational safety and audit and had officially joined the International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry.
With that, Ravn Alaska became the 35th airline in the country to earn the certification and achieve that highly coveted standard. IOSA registration is an international standard for airline safety management. The IOSA certification is recognized globally as an endorsement of a carrier’s processes, management systems, and controls. To receive certification, carriers and their systems are evaluated against about 900 standards and best practices in eight organizational disciplines.
The certification process standardizes operational safety audits, creating a benchmark upon which carriers can assess their safety practices. Dave Pflieger and his Ravn Air executives credited their highly successful IOSA registration to the hard work and commitment of the airline’s frontline team. They stated that the registration was a testament to its prioritization of passenger safety.
On October 1, 2014, successful aviation business leader David Pflieger was hired by Mr. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, as a direct report to assume the roles of President and Chief Executive Officer at Island Air, an inter-island airline wholly owned by Ellison that operated throughout Hawaii. In addition to these positions, Mr. Pflieger accepted a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Prior to joining Island Air, David Pflieger demonstrated his business acumen with multiple successful airline turnarounds. He served as the President and CEO of Silver Airways in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after spending three years as the Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, where he led an extensive turnaround and rebranding effort that transformed the company from a financially struggling airline to a prosperous international carrier honored multiple times by Condé Nast Traveler. Prior to his work in Fiji, Mr. Pflieger was a founding officer at Virgin America in San Francisco.
At Island Air, Dave Pflieger joined a company with a long history of service to Hawaiian communities. The firm began as a two-plane service under the name Princeville Airways in 1980, providing flights between Honolulu and Kauai. By 1987, the company had expanded its fleet to eight aircraft and assumed the name Aloha Island Air after its acquisition by Aloha Air Group. The airline received its FAA certification to operate large aircraft in 1995 and became an independent carrier soon after, passing into the ownership of Gavarnie Holding, LLC.
Following its successful turnaround in just 14 months by Mr. Pflieger, Island Air was sold to PacifiCap, LLC, the largest venture capital firm in Hawaii, and it continues to operate daily flights between Lihue, Kahului, Kona, and Honolulu. The airline also continues to support the broader Hawaiian community through a robust corporate responsibility program benefiting organizations such as the University of Hawaii and Best Buddies Hawaii, as well as the Explorers Program, a hands-on educational experience for young, aspiring aviation professionals.
About David Pflieger
David Pflieger - Senior Airline Executive