Stefan Pichler leads Fiji Airways
Friday, 6th September 2013: Stefan Pichler took over at the helm and assumed the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline, this week. This exciting appointment was announced in July following an extensive global search.
Mr. Pichler joins Fiji Airways, following four years as Chief Executive Officer of Jazeera Airways where he led the company to a remarkable turnaround, achieving the highest operating profit margins in the industry in 2011 and 2012. Before that, he was responsible for Virgin Blue’s transformation from a low cost carrier to a network airline and launched the V-Australia long haul operations.
“I am excited to join Fiji Airways at this pivotal period of growth and change. The combination of a strong brand, new fleet of A330-200’s and refurbished B737’s, as well as improved schedules and services opens up an exciting new chapter for the airline,” Mr. Pichler said.
“Following the recent record breaking financial year in terms of revenue and passenger numbers, I am confident this new era will see Fiji Airways cement their place in the industry”, he added. “There’s a wonderful team culture here at Fiji’s national airline. This should enable us to develop leading industry standards in every area of our operations and to be in a position to offer customers the best flying experience in the South Pacific.”
Biography – Stefan Pichler
Stefan Pichler joined Jazeera Airways K.S.C., a public listed airline on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, in June 2009 as the CEO. He launched a successful turnaround program in the same year and since July 2010 the company has returned to sustainable profitability with 12 consecutive quarters of record profits until today. The company achieved the highest operating profit margins in the global industry with 25 % in 2011 and 30 % in 2012. Mr. Pichler was responsible for the turnaround and the future growth strategy of one of the few profitable and privately owned regional airline groups. He was awarded the “Personal Achievement of the Year Award 2012” by Business Aviation for the Jazeera Airways turnaround.
Since 2004, Mr. Pichler was part of Richard Branson’s senior management team. He was responsible for Virgin Blue’s transformation from a low cost carrier to a “new world” network airline and served as their Chief Commercial Officer. Virgin Blue became one of the most profitable global airlines in 2006 and 2007 with a double digit profit after tax margin. Mr. Pichler also launched Virgin Blue’ s long haul carrier V Australia in 2008 and served as a Chairman of this company until June 2009.
Formerly the Chairman and CEO of Thomas Cook AG, where Mr. Pichler built the company from a national German tour operator to the world’s second largest leisure group, he has also held Senior and Executive Board roles with Lufthansa AG. Joining Lufthansa in 1989 as the Marketing & Sales Manager for France, Mr. Pichler was appointed Managing Director of Lufthansa France in 1991. Additional roles included his appointments as Managing Director for Germany in 1995 and as the Executive Vice President of worldwide Sales & Marketing in 1996 and as a Member of Lufthansa’s Executive Board in 1997.
Mr. Pichler combines both extensive airline experience with major Network, Charter and Low Cost Carriers with extensive knowledge of global markets and custumers, including working with leading global brands such as NIKE, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook and Virgin. With his international business career and background he is certainly one of the very few global aviation and leisure experts and leaders.
He is formerly a non-executive director and Chairman of major corporations including, Steigenberger Hotels AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Berlin Messe GmbH and Fraport AG in Germany, Grupo Iberostar in Spain, Havas in France , Thomas Cook in UK and India and Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) Australia.
A former internationally ranked marathon runner, Mr. Pichler started his career as the Head of Sport Promotions at NIKE International in Beaverton/Oregon. He has a Masters Degree in both Economics and Law from Augsburg University, Germany.
About Fiji Airways: Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways is the national airline of Fiji. It aims to become the airline of choice of the South Pacific, and the purchase and introduction of three new re-branded “Fiji Airways” Airbus A330-200s to replace its fleet of Boeing B747-400s and B767s will be the capstone of the airline’s success and turnaround from record losses just 3 years ago. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways and its subsidiary Pacific Sun fly to 15 cities in 10 countries. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. Fiji Airways aircraft bring in over 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, and the two companies together employ over 900 employees, earn revenues of over F$675 million ($380m USD), and directly contribute a significant portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiji Airways rebranded from Air Pacific in June 2013.