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  • Neeleman refutes reports of new airline venture

Neeleman refutes reports of new airline venture

JetBlue Airways and Azul founder David Neeleman has denied reports that he plans to start a new US airline, saying he has his "hands full" in Brazil.

Rumours of Neeleman's involvement in a new start-up emerged in July, when reports cited a new Connecticut-based company, Azura Airways, registered under his name.

Neeleman tells FlightGlobal that the registration belongs to a group of individuals who is starting a corporate jet business.

"We are not starting an airline," he says, adding that he is not launching a new airline in the US or anywhere else. "I have my hands full."

Neeleman says he intends to still be actively involved in Azul, even though he handed over his chief executive title to John Rodgerson on July.

He explains that Rodgerson is chief executive of Azul's holding company, while he is chief executive of the airline subsidiary itself. Brazilian regulations require the chief executive of an airline to be Brazilian, explains Neeleman, who has dual US-Brazilian citizenship.

Neeleman remains chairman of Azul's board. "He's my boss, but I'm his boss," he jokes, referring to Rodgerson.

Besides JetBlue and Azul, Neeleman was also involved in launching WestJet and Morris Air. Morris Air was sold to Southwest Airlines in 1993.

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