Jeh Wadia steps down as GoAir MD, Ben Baldanza made vice chairman

Jeh Wadia will continue to be part of the airline’s board
Wadia group scion Jeh Wadia stepped down as managing director of GoAir, the firm announced on Monday.

 

The airline appointed Ben Baldanza, former CEO of Spirit Airlines, its vice-chairman.

 

Wadia will, however, continue on the airline’s board.

 

GoAir is planning an initial public offering (IPO) and said the steps are part of its efforts to strengthen the management of the company by bringing on board proven industry professionals, a strategy that has worked well for the Wadia group in its other ventures, including Britannia.

 

The airline, which according to media reports intends to raise around Rs 4,000 crore, has a fleet of 53 Airbus A320 aircraft and had hired merchant bankers and law firms for the share sale.

 

A final decision, though, will be taken by the Wadia group, which owns the airline.

 

Industry veteran Baldanza, who has been part of the airline’s board since 2018, is famous for reducing operating cost of Spirit Airlines and has worked at American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines among others.

 

He became CEO of Spirit Airlines in 2006, and repositioned it as the first ultra-low-cost airline in North America and increased its fleet from 32 to 100.

 

GoAir said it, too, intends to rebuild as the first ultra-low-cost airline in India.

 

“With the goal of taking GoAir to its next phase of growth, the promoters of the company and its board came together to formulate a long-term plan.

Amongst other initiatives, a key element of this plan, forged over weeks of discussions and consultation, was to further strengthen the management of the company by bringing on board proven industry professionals, a strategy that has worked well for the group in its other ventures including Britannia,” the company said in a statement.

 

At present, the airline is operating 37 aircraft as the government has allowed only 80 per cent capacity.

 

A senior executive said new routes are under evaluation, but the airline is already selling flights to new destinations such as Amritsar, Dehradun, and Surat on online portals.

 

The route expansion comes ahead of the possible listing.

 

Industry sources said that the airline was looking to hire senior executives to head the network planning, treasury management, finance, as well as sales departments.



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