The head of Air Mauritius, Andre Viljoen, has been appointed Fiji Airways' new chief executive and managing director.

Viljoen is credited with helping turn around Air Mauritius by re-balancing the company's network, improving revenue management and investing in new generation aircraft. The airline last year committed to buying Airbus A350XWB planes.

While Air Mauritius swung back into profit for the year ended March 2014, reports from Mauritius last week said it had incurred losses of up to 23.7 million euros for the latest year.

Fiji Airways to start Wellington flights


Viljoen will take up the position in October and replaces Stefan Pilcher who left the airline to head Air Berlin.

Chairman of Fiji Airways Nalin Patel said Viljoen brings 33 years of experience in the airline and tourism industries.

"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."

He joins Fiji Airways following its rebranding from Air Pacific, a fleet upgrade, and exploration of new routes. It will start Wellington-Nadi services this week.

Viljoen was born in South Africa and holds an honours degree in commerce and is a chartered accountant.

He started his airline career with Comair British Airways in South Africa in the 1980's as financial manager and became group financial and commercial director, which he held for more than 10 years.

He then went on in 1992 to join South African Express Airways as chief operating officer before in 1995 joining South African Airways as chief financial officer before heading the airline from 2000 until 2005.

He then went on to join the tour operator group Cullinan Holdings before joining Air Mauritius in 2009.


In 2012, he launched a successful turnaround program known as the "7 Step Recovery Plan".

"I am very excited to be joining Fiji Airways, the leading airline in the South Pacific, and will continue to build on its strong brand and lead its dedicated team to even greater heights," Viljoen said.