There’s general consensus that a long list of men and women helped Fiji’s international airline get to where it is today. From the pioneers and visionaries brave enough to operate an airline out of the middle of the Pacific during its early years to the hundreds of dedicated and committed Fijians working hard to make it the world’s friendliest airline; words cannot do justice to describe the gratitude of the company.
Several years ago, long serving former chairman of the airline, retired business executive Gerald Barrack paid tribute to Gatty’s vision and the pioneering spirit of men and women like him “from the days when pilots flew Dragon Rapides and Drovers by the seat of their pants.” Days like the one where passengers boarded the Rapides plane and realized that there was no pilot, so a man wearing a bright bula (floral) shirt volunteered to fly the machine. Little did they realize that the man with the bright shirt was actually Fred Ladd, Gatty’s first Chief Pilot, playing his usual practical jokes!
Invited for his observations as “Air Pacific” celebrated its 60th anniversary, past CEO John Campbell said the men and women who built the airline are a source of great pride. “It is not easy to operate a reliable airline with a wide spread network from a small country in the middle of the Pacific. There are logistical, training, spare parts inventory and skill retention and development issues that an airline based in a major market does not face. That the airline has been able60th anniversary to overcome these barriers is a credit to its people and a testament to their commitment and frequent personal sacrifice.
“Fiji citizens can take pride in the overall success of their airline, which truly is the critical link between Fiji and the world and has been and hopefully will continue to be fully committed to serving Fiji’s aviation needs. I believe this is what was hoped for by Harold Gatty when establishing the bandar bola terpercaya airline.”
As it celebrates its 60th birthday, the Managing Director & CEO at the time, Dave Pflieger, joined his predecessor in praising Harold Gatty’s vision and the people of Fiji for making Air Pacific a world-class international airline.
“Air Pacific’s greatest asset is its people – from our maintenance and ground crews, to the pilots and flight attendants, to our schedulers and administrative staff,” Mr. Pflieger told Fiji Islands magazine. “The many changes and the improvements they are making now will serve Fiji and Fijians well for another 60 years. They are rising to the challenge of new competition and an ever changing world, and creating a strong legacy. It is an honour to work with everyone here.”
The Present Fiji Airways
For an airline that was started by an acclaimed air navigator, inventor, airline manager, plantation baron and legislator, Fiji Airways has grown into Fiji’s proud flag carrier. From flying De Havilland Dragon Rapide in those days to the new Airbus 330-200 jets of today, the airline has truly come of age. It boasts a strong position within the region, and is often ranked among the region’s top carriers.
In May 2012, the airline announced that it would reintroduce the name Fiji Airways to reinforce its role as the proud national airline of Fiji. Offering its customers brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft and warm friendly Fijian service, Fiji Airways connects the islands of Fiji to the world and proudly welcomes visitors to its home.
As our airline proudly returned to its roots as Fiji Airways, we embarked on a new and exciting chapter of our story.