TORONTO — A former Southwest Airlines executive has joined the ranks of Canada Jetlines, starting today.
Michael Bata has been announced as the new Chief Operations Officer at the ULCC, bringing with him over 35 years of experience in the aviation industry. In addition to holding various positions with multiple fortune 100 and 500 companies, Bata is also a commercial pilot with multiple ratings and over 3,500 hours of flight time logged.
During his nine years at Southwest, Bata served as the Director of Maintenance and was responsible for all maintenance and engineering operations of the Western Region. He led a team of 665 employees and maintained a US$459 million annual budget, and is credited with implementing new procedures to ensure timely, compliant check and repair of all aircraft in his region.
Prior to his time at Southwest, Bata also served as Chief Operating Officer at JetSuite and JetSuiteX, the fourth-largest private jet charter company in the U.S., with flights to over 3,000 destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. During this time, he led operational teams including Pilots, Maintenance & Engineering, and Ground Operations, successfully developing initiatives that improved aircraft on ground recovery time by 73%.
On Bata joining the Jetlines team, CEO Javier Suarez said: “He brings the right experience and an outstanding attitude that will help build the foundation for Jetlines’ future. His entrepreneurial spirit and track record of tight operational control will be an asset as we move closer to first flight and continue to build the team.”
On his new role, Bata said: “Coming from an industry leader like Southwest Airlines then continuing with Vueling and JetSuite, I understand the value of a strong, unique, positive, company culture which can only be realized by supporting a talented and dynamic team. Together we will be hyper focused on maintaining detailed operational control which is paramount for low-cost carriers. Javier and the current management team have done a great job so far and I look forward to being a part of Jetlines’ success as we prepare for our launch and into the future.”
In connection with his appointment as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Bata will be granted 750,000 Restricted Share Units (“RSUs”). The RSUs vest over a three-year period from the date of grant, with one third vesting at the end of each year during the three-year period.