His appointment was one of several announced as the leadership team supporting chief executive Dave Pflieger at the carrier was today disclosed.
Saunders has held senior commercial leadership roles in commercial, sales across airlines including including British Airways, Deutsche BA, SN Brussels Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Air Malta, Kuwait Airways in addition to SAA. That included a spell as acting chief executive at the South African carrier in 2020.
Flybe’s new management team also includes former United Airlines and Ravn Air Group executive John Jackson as chief operations and customer services officer, and Ron Karger as chief technical officer. The latter has worked across a number of Canadian carriers, including as director of maintenance at WestJet regional unit Encore.
Former Flybe executive Jim Comer will take up the director of finance role.
Pflieger, most recently chief executive of Alaska regional operator Ravn, was named chief executive of the new Flybe in October. “Each one brings a wealth of professional experience and knowledge that will prove invaluable as we look to launch the new Flybe, but also create a strong community focused airline that people love,” says Pflieger.
Flybe is aiming to relaunch flights this spring, a little over two years after the original Flybe operation collapsed, after taking delivery of its first De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 twin-turboprop in November.
The airline, which is headquartered and will have its first crew base in Birmingham, has yet to disclose a launch date or its route network.
Flybe in its original guise ceased operations in March 2020, with its remaining business and assets acquired in April last year by Thyme Opco, a company affiliated with Cyrus Capital, an investment firm which held a stake in the carrier prior to its collapse.