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Pichler departs Fiji Airways for Air Berlin

Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Stefan Pichler is set to depart for Germany's Air Berlin in February.

Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Stefan Pichler is set to depart for Germany’s Air Berlin in February.

Pichler has been asked by the German Government to help turnaround Germany’s national airline – Air Berlin – and will return home in February next year to do so.

Pichlers successful tenure has seen a turnaround in the airlines fortunes including the re-branding to Fiji Airways from Air Pacific in June 2013 as well as the introduction of new services and code shares, an increased fleet and record profits.

Most recently, Pichler was appointed Chairman of Fiji Tourism for three years and has since fostered a closer relationship between both the airline and the Tourism Board.

Fiji Airways’ Chairman, Nalin Patel, said that the Board of Fiji Airways makes this announcement with great regret but respects Mr. Pichler’s decision to respond to the call of his country.

Mr Patel said the Board of Fiji Airways would immediately begin a search for a suitable successor to lead Fiji Airways into the next exciting chapter of its history, which includes more aircraft, more flights and new destinations.

Mr Pichler will continue as a Board Member of Fiji Airways and will assist with the selection and the transition to a successor, as well as with the further strategic development of the Group.

Mr Patel stated: “Great progress has been made at Fiji Airways and the company is definitely on track for a successful future. The Board will make sure that Fiji Airways will continue to deliver outstanding value to its customers, its staff and its shareholders.”

“It is with tears in my eyes that I have to leave the most rewarding job in my career. Our management team, each of our dear staff members and our loyal supporters in Fiji and abroad have been really unique and very special to me.  As a Board member, I will help to make sure that Fiji Airways will become the best boutique airline in the world.”

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Stefan Pichler

The Honourable Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, commented on behalf of the Government: “We regret Stefan’s departure but we are extremely confident that the team at Fiji Airways will rise to this situation and continue full speed ahead on their path to success. Under Stefan’s leadership, Fiji Airways has put in place accountable and transparent processes and management systems which are crucial for the next stage of the airline’s growth.

Despite his premature departure, his continued presence on the Board will help ensure that these continue. Fiji needs a strong airline to support our dynamic economic growth plans and therefore the Government will make sure that Fiji Airways as well as Fiji Link will continue to fly high in the right direction.”

Do you think Pichlers departure will affect Fiji Airways future direction?