VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada Jetlines Ltd. (TSX-V: JET) (the “Company” or “Jetlines”) today announced that its Board of Directors has implemented changes to its leadership team and appointed Stan Gadek as Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Jim Scott. The changes, which are designed to help accelerate the Company’s strategy of becoming Canada’s first genuine ultra-low cost carrier, take effect immediately.
“Mr. Gadek is a welcome addition to the Canada Jetlines management team, bringing significant experience in the start-up and operation of an ultra-low cost carrier airline,” said Mark Morabito, Executive Chairman. “His experience in aircraft leasing, customer service, cost management, financial planning and strategic decision making will be invaluable to the execution of the Jetlines’ business plan.”
Mr. Morabito added, “Mr. Scott was instrumental in the early-stage growth of the Company, and created a strong foundation for Mr. Gadek to continue executing its business plan through the completion of the launch financing and preparation for commercial airline operations. Mr. Gadek has an excellent track record of success in the airline industry, and will bring his experience to bear in the Company’s successful launch.”
Mr. Gadek is a skilled senior airline executive who served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Sun Country Airlines, a Minneapolis-St. Paul-based scheduled service and charter airline operating Boeing 737 aircraft.
Under Mr. Gadek’s leadership, annual revenues grew to more than US$400 million. At Sun Country, Mr. Gadek grew revenue and sales, reduced costs and improved customer service, resulting in four consecutive years of profitability. He expanded Sun Country’s network to 34 domestic and international destinations and developed a vacation travel division resulting in additional revenue diversification. Sun Country was ultimately sold to private interests.
Prior to Sun Country, Mr. Gadek was Senior Vice President Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for NYSE listed, AirTran Holdings. Its primary asset was AirTran Airways with a fleet of 140 Boeing 737 aircraft. While at AirTran, Mr. Gadek led the negotiation of US$4 billion in aircraft orders, including over US$600 million in committed lease financing. In 2011, AirTran was sold to Southwest Airlines for over US$1.3 billion in cash and common stock.
Mr. Gadek has also held executive positions with other carriers including United Express, Continental, and Northwest. Mr. Gadek earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Mr. Gadek will relocate to Vancouver and continue to serve as a director of Canada Jetlines. Mr. Gadek has also been granted 375,000 stock options with a five-year term and an exercise price of $0.20, to be vested over a period of twenty-four months.
As one of the founders of the Company, Mr. Scott led it through its early start-up phase. Mr. Scott’s contributions include the development of the initial business plan, completion of early stage financing, managing the airline licensing process, establishing strong relationships with regulatory agencies and government officials, and obtaining the exemption order that permits Jetlines to have up to 49% voting interests held by non-Canadians. Mr. Scott has also resigned as a director of the Company.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Jim for his many contributions to the Company’s progress to date,” added Mr. Morabito.