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Canada Jetlines Ltd. has announced the appointment of industry veteran and former Southwest Airlines executive, Michael Bata as chief operations officer, effective Nov. 1, 2018.
Bata is a seasoned aviation veteran with over 35 years experience in the aviation industry and has held positions with multiple fortune 100 and 500 companies.
“I am thrilled to welcome Michael to our Jetlines team. He brings the right experience and an outstanding attitude that will help build the foundation for Jetlines’ future. His entrepreneurial spirit and track-record of tight operational control will be an asset as we move closer to first flight and continue to build the team,” said Javier Suarez, CEO of Jetlines.
Bata commented: “I am very excited and look forward to working with all of the Jetlines’ teams. Coming from an industry leader like Southwest Airlines then continuing with Vueling and JetSuite, I understand the value of a strong, unique, positive, company culture which can only be realized by supporting a talented and dynamic team.
“Together we will be hyper focused on maintaining detailed operational control which is paramount for low-cost carriers. Javier and the current management team have done a great job so far and I look forward to being a part of Jetlines’ success as we prepare for our launch and into the future.”
In addition to his Southwest Airlines experience, Bata held the role of chief operating officer at JetSuite and JetSuiteX, the fourth-largest private jet charter company in the United States, with flights to over 3,000 destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean.
During this time, Bata led operational teams including pilots, maintenance and engineering, and ground operations; successfully developing initiatives that improved aircraft on ground recovery time by 73 per cent.
Prior to JetSuite, Bata was chief operating officer at Vueling Airlines, one of fastest-growing low-cost carriers (LCCs) in Europe. At Vueling Bata and his teams successfully lowered long term maintenance costs by €290 million through strategic sourcing projects, as well as developed and implemented a number of fuel savings and operational procedures initiatives that resulted in annual projected savings of an additional €30 million.
During his nine years at Southwest Airlines, the largest LCC in the world, Bata held senior roles with Southwest Airlines. As the director of maintenance, Bata was responsible for all maintenance and engineering operations of the Western Region, leading a team of 665 employees and maintaining a US$459 million annual budget.
Bata implemented new procedures to ensure timely, compliant check and repair of all aircraft in his region and was instrumental in reducing costs and managing a more efficient budget.
Bata is a commercial pilot with multiple ratings and over 3,500 hours of flight time logged.
In connection with his appointment as chief operating officer, Bata will be granted 750,000 restricted share units (RSUs). The RSUs vest over a three-year period from the date of grant, with one third vesting at the end of each year during the three-year period.