Compiled by Peter/CXXO Wiz4.biz 6/12
David G. Neeleman is a Brazilian-born American-raised Enterpreneur of Dutch & American parents. He founded three Commercial Airlines – Morris Air (until aquired by Southwest (SW) , Jet Blue & Azul Brazilian Airlines. Prior to this, he was an Executive at SW Airlines, and founded an Airline Reservation system that was aquired by HP
David’s policy for Jet Blue was “low fares & economy seating” with leather seats & TVs for each passenger. Because of this customer-friendly policy, altho’ only founded in 2000, by 2008, Jet Blue was the 8th largest Airline in USA – 2x that of Delta. He runs lean and has lowest cost in Industry per passenger mile.
Azul Brazilian Airlines was founded by David in 2008 as a Latin twist of JetBlue. It’s his biggest gamble yet. He raised $235 million for the venture, a record for a new airline. Personally, David has invested $13 million, some 4 times the amount he sank into JetBlue.
Normally, the airline industry is a notoriously Bad Investment ??? Of the major industries, airlines have the worst 10-year total return to shareholders. But David is adamant that airlines can pay off — if you know where to put your money – Brazil. It’s Latin America’s largest economy, and has rebounded quickly from the financial crisis of 2008, and has a burgeoning middle class.
Fastest Growing. In its brief life span, at least, Azul has proved David right. The airline started flying in 12/08 and registered 2.2 million passengers in its first 12 months, shattering the previous record for a startup airline — held by JetBlue. David isn’t in this just for the money. The stakes are personal. He was born in São Paulo and lived in Brazil until he was 5. His father, then a Journalist for UPI, moved the family back to Utah to go to American schools. After High School, David returned to Brazil to do his Morman Mission work.
Loyal & Local, not Loco. Azul is now the only major airline with all Brazil-made jet planes: Azul has 18 new midsize Embraer jets in his fuel-efficient fleet and David has committed to buy 28 more, at a total list price of $1.7 billion. By charging low fares and providing more frequent & direct service to 17 cities than the competition, Azul has captured 5.8% of the local air-travel market. Since many Azul customers don’t have cars, and taxis are expensive, David decided to provide free bus service from points in São Paulo and five other cities to the airport.
Background. David is the father of 9 children with his wife, Vicki. He overcame his ADD and his beliefs have greatly affected the manner in which he runs his business. His commitment to Christian ethics seeps into every aspect of his business, continually improving it. He says: “A large part of my success is due to my strength in human relations and my commitment to serving others”.