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Silver Airways names Dave Pflieger President and CEO

by Steve Bennett | Feb 11, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – (February 11, 2013)

Silver Airways’ Board of Directors today announced the appointment of David H. Pflieger, Jr. to the position of President and CEO, effective May 1, 2013. Pflieger, who also will join the Company’s Board of Directors, will succeed Darrell Richardson who recently retired.

Pflieger, who until May 1st will remain CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Fiji’s national carrier, will be responsible for the leadership and management of the 14th largest regional airline in terms of number of passengers flown. He will oversee Silver Airways’ almost 800 employees and 32 aircraft operating over 60,000 flights per year to destinations in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Montana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Bahamas.

“Dave brings a unique and proven blend of aviation experience and leadership to Silver Airways. He is the right person at the right time for this airline; and it is a tremendous testament to the award-winning work of the men and women of Silver, and the significant progress that we have made thus far, that we were able to attract someone of his caliber,” said Matthew Ray, Chairman of Silver Airways.

Ray noted that the airline has successfully completed a full operational turnaround, upgraded its fleet by taking delivery of 21 Saab 340BPlus aircraft, started flights to 22 new destinations, re-branded the airline and rolled out a stunning new and distinct livery, solidified its valued partnership with United Airlines, formed a new partnership with Delta Air Lines and achieved numerous other strategic and operational initiatives that will enable Silver to continue to ensure high passenger satisfaction and operational performance.

“In addition to completing an operational restructuring which preserved most employee jobs since its launch in May, 2011, Silver has successfully hired and trained almost 500 new employees, crew and non-crew,” Ray said. “And, we also made significant enhancements to the quality of life for all of our employees. While we are still not finished, we have made great strides in our goal to be a ‘best place to work’ by adding better health care benefits/options while significantly reducing the cost that our employees have to pay. Since emerging as a new company in 2011, we also paid out a company-wide employee bonus. Dave’s track record in the area of employee engagement will only further accelerate our commitment to be an employer of choice. We are excited about the partnership we have with our employees and the company’s future.”

“Given the accomplishments that we and our employees have achieved and today’s announcements – the honor of receiving the prestigious ATW Regional Airline of the Year Award and the recruitment of a very talented CEO – it is without question a very exciting time for Silver Airways,” the airline’s Chairman said.

“By any standard, what the Silver Airways team has accomplished in such a short time is impressive, and it is an honor to offer my congratulations for their well-deserved recognition of being named by ATW as “The Regional Airline of the Year”. I greatly appreciate the Board’s confidence in selecting me to be their CEO, and I look forward to joining and leading Silver’s tremendous team of professionals,” said Pflieger.

A pilot, business executive, and attorney, Pflieger brings a unique blend of more than 27 years of experience in the aviation and airline industry. Most recently at the helm of Air Pacific, Pflieger led the complete restructuring, re-branding and ultimate financial turnaround of Fiji’s national carrier, taking the airline from record losses and turning it into a successful and growing airline generating almost $400 million dollars in revenue per year.

During his highly energetic tenure in Fiji, Air Pacific and its employees benefited from many “firsts,” including taking the airline from the worst losses in its history to a profit in just two years; the replacement of B747 and B767 aircraft with new wide-body Airbus A330s valued at over $600 million, the establishment of a profit sharing and quarterly incentive program for front-line employees, the introduction of a comprehensive social responsibility program, and recognition by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the “World’s Top 5 Small Airlines” two years in a row.

“As an industry veteran who has top-notch operational and customer service experience, an accomplished management track record from his time with some of the world’s best airlines, and an ability to create and maintain an employee-focused culture that will enhance and foster the many talents of our team at Silver – Dave possesses all of the right skills to keep our partners and customers satisfied in an effort to strengthen and grow Silver Airways,” said Ray.

About Dave Pflieger

As President and CEO of Silver Airways, Dave Pflieger will be responsible for the management and oversight of Silver Airways’ almost 800 employees and 32 aircraft operating over 60,000 flights per year to destinations in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Montana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas. Pflieger who will be joining the airline’s Board of Directors, has more than 27 years of experience in the aviation and airline industry as a business executive, attorney, and pilot.

Pflieger, who until May 1, 2013 will remain CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, Fiji’s national carrier, will begin the transition of his management duties effective immediately. During his tenure at Air Pacific, Pflieger led the dramatic and highly successful restructuring, rebranding and revitalization of the country’s airline, turning it from a struggling carrier that had suffered several years of losses, including a $51 million loss the year before he arrived,to an airline that just two years later earned a $9 million profit and twice won recognition from Conde Nast Traveler as one of the “World’s Top 5 Small Airlines.” He also implemented the Company’s first-ever profit sharing and quarterly performance incentive plans for front-line employees. While in Fiji, Pflieger also served as Chairman of Tourism Fiji, Fiji’s National Tourism Board.

Before Air Pacific, he was a Senior Vice President, founding officer, and a member of the start-up team that created and ran Virgin America from 2004 until 2010. Prior to Virgin America, Pflieger was the Vice President of Operations at Song (Delta Air Lines' low-cost carrier). Before being recruited to join Song, he served as the Delta Air Line’s Director of Flight Safety, and prior to that he was Delta’s Operations Attorney.

While in his various roles at Delta and Virgin America, Pflieger also flew as a B767, B757, B737 and A320 pilot.

Dave joined Delta from the prestigious law firm of King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia, and before becoming an attorney, he was a B-52 instructor pilot, C-130 Aircraft Commander, and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. Pflieger has a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and he earned a law degree (with distinction) and an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Aviation Safety Program. He and his family will reside in Fort Lauderdale.