Former JetBlue CEO to Take Over Airbus Americas

Airbus has selected former CEO of JetBlue Airways Robin Hayes [photo] to succeed Jeff Knittel, who announced his retirement as Airbus Americas, Inc. Chairman and CEO, effective June 3, 2024. Knittel served as the region’s top executive since 2018 and will remain with Airbus through a transition period.

Hayes brings 35 years of global aerospace leadership to Airbus, having served in a series of senior executive roles at British Airways over the course of his 19-year tenure, and JetBlue, where he was CEO for nine years. From 2020 to 2022, Hayes was Chair of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Board of Governors, where he championed the association’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Hayes will report to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

As Chairman and CEO, Hayes will lead the commercial aircraft business, and will have responsibility for coordination among the company’s helicopters, space and defense businesses in North America. The region has more than 10,000 Airbus employees across 50 sites. Additionally, Airbus spends $15 billion annually with more than 2,000 U.S. suppliers in over 40 states.

During Knittel’s tenure, Airbus grew its presence in the Americas and expanded its industrial and manufacturing footprint, doubling the region’s commercial aircraft deliveries.

Airbus Americas headquarters is located in Herndon, VA. The facility employs some 120 people in sales, marketing and communications for Airbus customers in the U.S. and Canada.