Chew lured by JetBlue

Just weeks after saying he was joining Hawaiian Airlines, Russell Chew has changed his mind and instead joined JetBlue Airways.

After almost four years trying to make the FAA's Air Traffic Organisation operate more efficiently Chew was in demand when he came onto the market late last year, announcing that he would be leaving the FAA to make a return to the private sector.

JetBlue was among the carrier's leading the pack for Chew's services, but in February he said he would be joining Hawaiian to manage its daily operations as executive vice-president operations.

However, Chew announced in early March that instead he would be joining troubled JetBlue, to run the low-fare carrier's daily system as chief operating officer. Chew, 54, started in mid-March, about a month after the now infamous meltdown that left JetBlue aircraft on the runway at New York for hours, stranding hundreds, delaying thousands more and getting seven-year-old JetBlue the worst kind of public attention (see p14).

Chew reports to Jet-Blue's number two, president Dave Barger, who had held the chief operating officer title.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Airlines said that it was continuing its search for an executive to replace Norm Davies, who is retiring.

FAA administrator Marin Blakey said that the agency had hired a professional executive search firm to help it identify a new chief operating officer and that she hoped to name a replacement for Chew sometime this summer.

Before joining the FAA in 2003, Chew had flown for and worked in flight operations for American Airlines for 17 years, becoming the managing director of system operations control before joining the FAA's newly created air traffic unit.

Source: Airline Business