Global Conference 2012
Chairman, Founder and CEO, Azul Brazilian Airlines
David Neeleman is the chairman and CEO of Azul Brazilian Airlines, which he founded in 2008. Born in Sao Paulo, Neeleman lived in Brazil until age 5, when his family returned to Salt Lake City. As a college student, he sold tour packages to Hawaii to his classmates and was soon invited to work at Morris Travel, a travel agency in Salt Lake City. Morris Travel began to lease and operate aircraft, and Neeleman co-founded Morris Air, which was bought by Southwest Airlines in 1993. Morris Air was the first airline to eliminate paper tickets, a revolutionary idea for aviation. In 1999 he launched New Air, a discount air carrier that later became JetBlue Airways, which he left in 2007. In 2000 Neeleman helped to create Live TV, the first company to provide in-flight television programming. He was also directly involved in Open Skies, an electronic ticketing and reservation system that was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 1999.