Former JetBlue CEO To Join Airbus

Daniel Fowkes
23 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
An Airbus A220-300 and Airbus A321neo perform a flight over Europe for the cameras

Robin Hayes, the former CEO of JetBlue, has a new role just months after leaving the U.S. airline. Hayes has been unveiled as the new CEO of Airbus Americas.

The role shift comes following a nine-year tenure as JetBlue’s CEO. During this time, Hayes helped shape the company to where it is today. Hayes departed JetBlue in February, citing his health after discussions with doctors and his family.

Airbus is adjusting its leadership team following the news that C. Jeffrey Knittel will retire. Mr Knittel currently occupies the Chairman and CEO role of Airbus Americas and will leave the post on June 3, 2024.

As part of the shift from the airline world to manufacturing, Hayes will head the commercial aircraft division across North America. While much of the focus will be on the commercial side, Hayes will also need to ensure smooth integration across the other divisions within the company.

Robin Hayes from June will become the head of Airbus Americas as part of his transition from JetBlue, where he spent nine years as the CEO.

Airbus says that Hayes brings 35 years of global aerospace leadership with him, during which time he worked at a high level with several leading airlines. Additionally, Hayes spent time with IATA on the Board of Governors, where a focus was placed on achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050. Notably, Hayes will report to the CEO of Airbus.

I am delighted to welcome Robin to Airbus. Together with the leadership team we’re looking forward to having Robin and his vast industry experience onboard to further deliver on our strategic objectives for the region across all the Airbus businesses and further grow our North American footprint. I want to thank Jeff for his many contributions to Airbus’ success over the years, and I wish him all the best for a well deserved retirement.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

With over 2,000 suppliers in more than 40 states across the United States, Airbus spends USD 15 billion annually. The region has more than 10,000 employees across 50 sites. This will be Hayes’ responsibility.

Mixed Reaction To The News

The immediate response to the hiring from analysts and general onlookers is far from positive. Many have indicated that such a decision from Airbus is something competitor Boeing will be pleased to see.

Onlookers also look towards the state that Hayes left JetBlue in at the time of his departure, which is far from ideal. People look at his track record at JetBlue as a sign of what could potentially come. However, his role at Airbus will not leave him with nearly as much control as JetBlue.

At JetBlue, Hayes focused on implementing next-generation aircraft to enhance finances and efficiency. Additionally, Hayes was important in getting the airline to begin Transatlantic flights.

Looking Ahead

In the short term, Hayes, in his new position, will look to grow Airbus’ presence across the Americas. This region has been an important area of focus for Airbus for a considerable period.

The manufacturer has enjoyed significant success with deploying the A220 across North America. Looking ahead, the hope is to continue extending the success of other programs into the region.

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