Appointment of Robin Hayes as Head of Airbus Operations in North America

Airbus SE (ticker symbol: AIR) has announced the retirement of C. Jeffrey Knittel as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Americas, Inc., effective June 3, 2024. Knittel has held this position since 2018 and will remain with Airbus during a transition period. Robin Hayes, former CEO of JetBlue Airways, has been chosen as his successor.

Hayes brings extensive experience in global aerospace leadership to Airbus, with a career spanning 35 years. He held various senior executive positions at British Airways over 19 years and served as CEO of JetBlue for nine years. Notably, from 2020 to 2022, Hayes chaired the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he advocated for the association’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Hayes will report directly to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, expressed his enthusiasm for Hayes’ appointment, highlighting his industry expertise and Airbus’ anticipation of leveraging his experience to advance strategic objectives in the North American region. Faury also extended gratitude to Knittel for his contributions and wished him well in retirement.

As Chairman and CEO, Hayes will oversee Airbus’ commercial aircraft business in North America and coordinate operations across the company’s helicopters, space, and defense divisions in the region. With over 10,000 employees spread across 50 sites, Airbus in North America maintains significant operations, contributing $15 billion annually to more than 2,000 U.S. suppliers in over 40 states.

Expressing his eagerness to join Airbus, Hayes emphasized his commitment to safety and decarbonization, aligning with Airbus’ purpose of pioneering sustainable aerospace. During Knittel’s tenure, Airbus expanded its presence in the Americas, doubling commercial aircraft deliveries and enhancing its industrial and manufacturing footprint. Knittel, with 40 years of experience in aviation finance, leasing, and manufacturing, praised Airbus’ achievements under his leadership and expressed confidence in Hayes’ ability to lead the organization forward.

In summary, the transition from Knittel to Hayes marks a strategic move for Airbus in North America, aiming to capitalize on Hayes’ industry acumen and drive further growth and sustainability initiatives in the region.

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