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Airline industry veteran and co-founder of IndiGo joins Southwest Airlines board  

Well-known and respected airline industry veteran Rakesh Gangwal has been appointed to the board of Southwest Airlines, the US low-cost carrier has announced.  

With his extensive knowledge of the airline business, Gangwal joins the carrier as it fights its way back from a stream of public relations missteps over recent years.  

Gangwal is a co-founder of IndiGo, or InterGlobe Aviation to give it its full title, India’s largest airline by fleet size and passengers carried. However, even before co-founding IndiGo in 2006, Gangwal had already accumulated a wealth of airline industry experience.  

Gangwal previously served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Worldspan Technologies, a leading provider of GDS (global distribution systems) technology and information services to the travel and transportation industry. Before that, he held the positions of President and Chief Executive Officer of US Airways Group (before its ultimate merger with American Airlines), and previously as its Chief Operating Officer. Elsewhere, Gangwal also has held executive roles at Air France and United Airlines. 

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“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,” said Gary Kelly, Executive Chairman of Southwest 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.” 

“Rakesh’s expertise in travel technology will be valuable as we continue to make investments that support our operations and strategic initiatives,” added Kelly. “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,” Kelly added.  

“I have long admired Southwest Airlines and am honored to join the board,” said Gangwal. “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.” 

Outside of commercial aviation, Gangwal has also served on several other public company boards, including the US-based companies CarMax, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and PetSmart. According to a Southwest Airlines statement, Gangwal holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Refreshing the board 

Gangwal’s appointment comes as the Southwest Airlines board continues to bring in new members with a view to reviving the heydays of the airline and restoring the airline’s place in the eyes of the traveling public. 

As part of its efforts to refresh the skillset of its board members, Southwest has been busy appointing a total of eight new independent directors, including Gangwal, over the last three years. According to the carrier, these recruits offer the company a fresh perspective and experience in several areas of the company’s business including aviation, travel, finance, technology, consumer services, governmental affairs, human capital, environmental and sustainability, and logistics and operations.  

The post Airline industry veteran and co-founder of IndiGo joins Southwest Airlines board   appeared first on AeroTime.

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