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Former JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes to Succeed Jeffrey Knittel as Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas

Effective June 3, 2023, former JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes will succeed Jeffrey Knittel, who is retiring as Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Inc. Mr. Knittel will stay on during the transition period.

From Left: Airbus Americas' Retiring Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Knittel, and His Successor, Former JetBlue CEO, Robin Hayes - Courtesy Airbus

On Monday (April 22, 2024), Airbus announced that former JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes will succeed Jeffrey Knittel as Chairman And Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Americas, Inc.  Mr. Knittel has served as Airbus’ top executive in the region since 2018, and will serve through a transition period before retiring on  June 3, 2024.  Robin Hayes brings over 35 years of global aviation leadership to the company, having served in a series of senior leadership roles at British Airways over a period of 19 years, before serving as JetBlue’s CEO for nine years.

In Monday’s announcement, Airbus’ CEO Guillaume, Faury, said,


“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.”


Also commenting on his new position as Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Robin Hayes, said,

“After some time off, I am excited and energised to join Airbus and build on the incredible success in the region.  I have known Jeff and the Airbus team for well over a decade and I believe they have done a terrific job leading Airbus in the Americas.  It is an honour for me to take up this opportunity to be part of the Airbus team.  Airbus’ commitment to safety and decarbonisation is incredibly important to me personally, and I am both motivated by and committed to contributing to the Airbus purpose to pioneer sustainable aerospace.”

In his new role, Mr. Hayes will lead Airbus' commercial aircraft business in the region, and will also have responsibility for coordination across the company’s helicopters, space and defense businesses in North America.  Airbus Americas has over 10,000 team members in the region across 50 sites.  The company also spends some $15 billion annually with more than 2,000 U.S. suppliers in 40+ states.

Under Jeffrey Knittel’s leadership, Airbus grew their presence in the Americas and expanded their industrial and manufacturing footprint, doubling commercial aircraft deliveries in the region. Commenting on his tenure at the company, Airbus’ outgoing Chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Knittel, said,

“My time at Airbus has been a privilege and I am immensely proud of what the team has accomplished during our time together.  We significantly increased revenues, grew market share and expanded our presence and operational footprint across all three Airbus businesses.  The future is bright for Airbus in the region, as it is well-positioned to continue on its growth trajectory.  Robin’s vast aviation experience, depth of knowledge and industry relationships make him the right choice at the right time to lead the organisation into the future in line with the Company’s global ambition.  I look forward to watching the team reach new heights under Robin’s leadership.” 

Before joining Airbus, Jeffrey Knittel acquired 40 years of experience in aviation finance, leasing and manufacturing, having previously served as President of CIT Aerospace and CIT Transportation Finance.


Source: Airbus


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