Leave it to JetBlue founder David Neeleman to push up the launch of a new venture despite the current economic climate. Today, Neeleman announced that his new low-cost Brazilian airline Azul had taken flight with an inaugural trip from Campinas to Salvador de Bahia, a few weeks ahead of schedule. Neeleman reportedly moved up the launch to take advantage of the busy holiday travel season.
Neeleman, who was ousted as CEO of JetBlue following a service meltdown on Valentine's Day 2007, was born in Brazil while his father worked as a journalist there and holds dual citizenship. I spoke to him in the spring about his new venture as well as his departure from JetBlue. While it was clear that he would have loved a do-over at JetBlue, he seemed invigorated by the prospect of leading another start-up. You can find the extended version of the Q&A, which ran in our June issue, here.