Longtime Southwest Airlines executive Dave Harvey will become US charter aircraft provider Wheels Up’s chief commercial officer (CCO) starting 20 May, an appointment coming as the company continues a broad restructuring.

The move, revealed by Georgia-based Wheels Up on 6 May, brings to the company another executive with long experience in the airline industry as it seeks to stem significant financial losses. 

The CCO role had previously been held by Mark Briffa, who in February 2024 transitioned out of that job to be chief executive of Wheels Up’s subsidiary Air Partner.

Wheels Up King Air 350i

Source: Wheels Up

Wheels Up’s fleet includes Beechcraft King Air 350s

“Dave’s incredible track record at Southwest uniquely positions him to lead our commercial team in building the integrated strategy of the future,” says Wheels Up chief executive George Mattson. “Wheels Up’s focus on profitable growth while continuing to deliver operational excellence is key to our continued success in 2024 and beyond.”

Harvey has worked at Southwest for 25 years, most recently as the Dallas-based airline’s chief sales officer, a job involving management of the company’s business-to-business sales. Harvey has also been Southwest’s vice-president of business development, managing director of network planning, director of strategic planning and senior manager of technology.

“Over the past eight months, Wheels Up has made great strides towards its goal of becoming the best-run private aviation company in the world,” says Harvey, adding that he intends to help “build and drive an integrated commercial strategy”.

Wheels Up lost $487 million in 2023, a year during which it had been executing a major overhaul. It sold its aircraft management business, stopped offering members guaranteed prices for flights anywhere within the USA, split what had been a single US network into two, and secured new financing, including from Delta Air Lines.

Wheels Up’s management now includes numerous former airline executives, most of them from Delta, including Mattson, who had been a Delta board member.

In 2023, Wheels Up hired former Delta operations executive Dave Holtz as its chief operating officer, former Delta maintenance manager Pat Busscher as senior vice-president of maintenance, and former Delta chief pilot Patrick Burns as senior vice-president of flight operations.

Wheels Up plans to disclose its first-quarter 2024 results on 9 May.