Dave Neeleman founded JetBlue after his non-compete from Southwest’s acquisition of Morris Air where he was CEO expired. During that non-compete period he was involved in the launch of Canada’s WestJet.
A citizen of Brazil as well as the U.S. (and also now of Cyprus), Neeleman launched Brazilian carrier Azul after being forced out at JetBlue. He’s also a partner in Star Alliance carrier TAP Air Portugal.
And it looks like he’s coming back to the United States, having registered “Azura Airways Corp. in Connecticut” on July 13th.
Neeleman is listed in the Azura registration as a company principal along with James Smith, a former American Airlines executive, and Azul aircraft programs director Amir Nasruddin.
On Monday, Azura appeared to have taken down its webpage www.flyazura.com. But both the CAPA Centre for Aviation and Airline Weekly reported that last week the page was advertising for airline employees.
Registering Azura doesn’t mean that will ultimately be the carrier’s name. JetBlue was initially formed as ‘New Air’. He wanted to call the carrier ‘Blue’ but blue alone couldn’t be trademarked. Azul, of course, is Spanish and Portuguese for blue.
The brief existence of a FlyAzura.com website however adds credence to the idea that it could be the carrier’s eventual name.
Regardless of the inspiration, Neeleman is a successful industry veteran and more competition in the industry is sorely needed.