Weather Fiji, Suva   Max 30°C, Min 23°C

Fiji Sun


Fiji Airways Welcomes New CEO

Fiji Airways Welcomes New CEO
Fiji Airways’ new Chief Executive Office and Managing Director, Andre Viljoen
June 24
10:21 2015

Fiji Airways’ new Chief Executive Office and Managing Director brings 33 years of professional experience in the airline and tourism industries.

South African Andre Viljoen will take up his new appointment by October 1.

Mr Viljoen has been heading Air Mauritius as their CEO. He’s been there since 2010. He previously was chief executive of South African Airways

In a statement released by Fiji’s national airline, Mr Viljoen said: “I am very excited to be joining Fiji Airways, the leading airline in the South Pacific.

“I will continue to build on its strong brand and lead its dedicated team to even greater heights.”

Fiji Airways Chairman Nalin Patel said: “Andre is an experienced airline professional with a strong business and customer focus.

“We believe he is the perfect person to lead Fiji Airways and will have the full support of the Board, together with our experienced management and team.”

Mr Patel explained Mr Viljoen had transformed Air Mauritius, restored it to profitability and attained the coveted Skytrax 4 Star rating for product and service.


Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Public Enterprises, Public Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, welcomed Mr Viljoen’s appointment on behalf of the Fijian Government as the airline’s majority shareholder.

“I’m delighted that Fiji Airways has been able to attract yet another outstanding international airline executive to head our national carrier and fulfil our ambition to make it the world’s best boutique carrier.

“Andre has big shoes to fill in replacing Stefan Pichler – who produced a record financial result for Fiji Airways last year.

“But this is an outstanding choice and we look forward, under his leadership, to expanding the airline’s footprint into other international hubs.”

Fiji Airways says its business as usual for the time being in terms of day-to-day management of the company.



Mr Viljoen was born in South Africa.

He holds an Honours Degree in Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant.

He started his airline management career with Comair British Airways in South Africa in the 1980s as Financial Manager.

He then took the position of Group Financial and Commercial Director, which he held for more than 10 years.

He played an instrumental role in elevating Comair from a small regional airline to becoming South African Airways principal domestic competitor flying the British Airways brand.

He then went on in 1992 to join South African Express Airways, the largest regional airline in South Africa, as Chief Operating Officer.

In 1995, he joined South African Airways; South Africa’s National Airline, as Chief Financial Officer and took over as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2000 until 2005.



He implemented an aggressive transformation programme known as “Perfecting the Basics” which restored the airline back to profitability by 2002.

The transformation programme also earned the airline a Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as many travel awards such as “The Leading Airline to Africa”.

He then went on to join the tour operator group Cullinan Holdings as Chief Executive Officer from 2006.

In 2009, he joined Air Mauritius, Mauritius’ National Airline, initially as Chief Financial Officer and then from 2010 as Chief Executive Officer.



In 2012, he launched a successful turnaround programme known as the “7 Step Recovery Plan”.

The plan was focused on re-balancing the company’s network, improving revenue management and commercial, as well as re-fleeting with new generation aircraft.

The plan restored the airline back to profitability by 2014 and it has ordered 6 Airbus A350-900 new generation aircraft to replace its aged fleet of Airbus A340-300’s.

The service quality improvement programme implemented as part of the 7 Step Recovery Plan has earned Air Mauritius the Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as the travel award of “Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean”.




Related Articles

you said it
"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend

Latest Photo Gallery

Fijisun Online @Instagram