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HomeTravelBlue to blue: Southwest appoints IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal as board member...

Blue to blue: Southwest appoints IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal as board member – ET TravelWorld

Blue to blue: Southwest appoints IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal as board member – ET TravelWorld

US mega low cost carrier Southwest has appointed IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal as a board member. Gangwal had resigned from the board of India’s biggest airline in Feb 2022 and has been diluting his stake in IndiGo (which was 36.61 per cent at that time) since then.

Gary Kelly, executive chairman of Southwest board, said: “I am delighted to welcome Rakesh, who brings to our board decades of valuable experience as an executive and entrepreneur at some of the world’s leading airlines. Having co-founded IndiGo and grown it into India’s largest airline, Rakesh knows the importance of building a business that has both a distinct culture and enduring profitability.”

Gangwal said: “I have long admired Southwest Airlines and am honoured to join the board. Together with the rest of the board, I look forward to supporting the company’s strategic direction and building on its well-earned reputation as one of the world’s most admired and respected airlines.”

Regional airports found wind beneath their wings in FY24

Pantnagar airport, which opened in 2019, saw a 55.8 per cent rise in passenger count to 110,824. Shillong wasn’t far behind, seeing an over 40 per cent rise in air traveller numbers from FY23 on the back of some of the lowest fares in the Northeast. Data from online travel aggregator ixigo showed that air fares for Guwahati and Dimapur start at just INR 400.

Kelly added: “Rakesh’s expertise in travel technology will be valuable as we continue to make investments that support our operations and strategic initiatives. We look forward to working with Rakesh and benefitting from his insights to best serve our customers, do right by our employees, and drive long-term shareholder value.”Southwest board of directors has appointed Gangwal as a member effective July 7. Gangwal has extensive airline industry experience. Before co-founding IndiGo in 2006, Gangwal served as chairman, president, and CEO of Worldspan Technologies, a provider of technology and information services to the travel and transportation industry. Prior to his time at Worldspan, Gangwal served as president and CEO of US Airways Group, and previously as its COO. Gangwal previously served in executive roles at Air France and United Airlines.

Gangwal has also served on several other public company boards, including US Airways Group, CarMax, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and PetSmart. He has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the IIT and MBA from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

“Gangwal’s appointment continues the board’s deliberate efforts to evolve its composition to comprise professionals with a diverse range of skills and experience in areas critical to Southwest Airlines’ business, including aviation, travel, finance, technology, consumer services, governmental affairs, human capital, environmental and sustainability, and logistics and operations. As part of its continued refreshment efforts, the Board has appointed a total of eight new independent and highly-qualified Directors, including Gangwal, over the last three years,” Southwest said in a statement.

  • Published On Jul 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM IST

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