Aviation Veteran Robin Hayes Takes the Helm at Airbus Americas

Airbus has appointed Robin Hayes, the former CEO of JetBlue Airways, as its new Chairman and CEO for North America. Hayes brings a wealth of experience to the role, boasting a 35-year career in the global aerospace industry. This appointment comes as Jeffrey Knittel, the current leader of Airbus Americas, prepares to retire on June 3rd, 2024. Hayes will take the reins shortly before Knittel's departure to ensure a smooth transition.


Hayes' background positions him well for this new challenge. He served in senior executive roles at British Airways for nearly two decades before taking the helm at JetBlue for nine years. During his tenure at JetBlue, Hayes was instrumental in expanding the airline's network and championing transatlantic flights. Airbus is clearly looking to leverage Hayes' expertise to solidify its presence in the North American market. He will oversee a vast operation, including the commercial aircraft business, which employs over 10,000 people across 50 different sites in North America. Additionally, Hayes will be responsible for Airbus' helicopter, space, and defense sectors within the continent.


Hayes himself expressed enthusiasm about his new role, highlighting his desire to build upon Airbus' success in the region. He also emphasized his interest in the company's efforts toward decarbonization within the aviation industry. This move by Airbus signifies a strategic shift. By appointing a seasoned aviation leader with extensive knowledge of the North American market, Airbus aims to strengthen its position and potentially gain a competitive edge. 

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Hayes' experience in both commercial airlines and aircraft manufacturing provides him with a unique perspective that could prove valuable in navigating the complexities of the North American aerospace landscape. The success of Hayes' leadership will depend on his ability to navigate various challenges, including competition from Boeing, fostering innovation within Airbus' North American operations, and navigating the ongoing recovery of the aviation industry post-pandemic. However, with his proven track record and deep industry knowledge, Hayes appears well-equipped to steer Airbus Americas towards continued growth and success.

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