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Southwest Airlines appoints Rakesh Gangwal to Board of Directors

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Southwest Airlines Co. appoints Rakesh Gangwal, seasoned airline industry executive and IndiGo co-founder, to its Board of Directors, effective July 7.

The Board of Directors of Southwest Airlines Co. has appointed Rakesh Gangwal as a member of the Board, effective July 7.

Gangwal has deep and extensive airline industry experience and is the co-founder of India’s largest airline by fleet size and passengers carried, InterGlobe Aviation, known as IndiGo. Before co-founding IndiGo in 2006, Gangwal served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer 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 Chief Executive Officer of US Airways Group, and previously as its Chief Operating Officer. Gangwal previously served in executive roles at Air France and United Airlines.

“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 the Board. “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

In addition to having served on the board of InterGlobe Aviation, Gangwal has also served on several other public company Boards, including US Airways Group, CarMax, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and PetSmart. Gangwal earned a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration 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.


Vicky Karantzavelou

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.





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Your Stories: Online Travel Training’s Legend of the Year Award winner Molly Ritchie

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The group and events consultant at Clarity Business Travel talks to Juliet Dennis about winning the Online Travel Training’s Legend of the Year Award just 12 months after becoming a corporate travel agent



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Amex Sees Double-Digit Growth in Int’l Customer Spending

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Travel and entertainment spending by American Express U.S. commercial customers increased 3 percent year over year in the second quarter, as spending by international commercial customers showed strong growth during the period, the company reported.

U.S. commercial customer T&E spending for Amex totaled $28 billion in the second quarter, equal to the previous quarter and up from $27 billion in the second quarter of 2023. On goods and services, Amex U.S. commercial customer spending was up 1 percent year over year to $104 billion.

Total spending by small and midsized commercial customers, inclusive of T&E and goods and services, was up 2 percent year over year in the quarter, while spending by large and global corporations in the U.S. was flat.

Amex CFO Christophe Le Caillec noted in an earnings call that “we are not in a high growth spend environment, particularly in the U.S.,” though spending volumes are tracking in line with the company’s expectations. He also noted “slower growth in certain T&E categories versus the prior quarter, such as airline and lodging.”

T&E spending by international Amex customers, both consumer and commercial, increased 11 percent year over year to $27 billion. International SME and large corporate spending, inclusive of T&E and goods and services, was up 14 percent year over year, compared with a 13 percent year-over-year increase for international consumer business.

“We continue to see double-digit growth in spending from international consumers and from international SME and large corporate customers, and we are also seeing double-digit growth across all regions,” according to Le Caillec.

Amex reported total revenues of $16.3 billion for the second quarter, up 8 percent year over year. The company’s net income for the quarter was $3 billion, up from $2.2 billion in the second quarter of 2023.

RELATED: Amex Q1 results



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Severe Technical Issue Disrupts Flights Globally

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Airlines around the world—as well as medical service
providers, banks, media companies and other businesses—have had their
operations negatively affected because of a global technical outage many
companies reported on Friday.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were
among the carriers that issued ground stops earlier Friday morning. American
posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that as of 5 a.m. Eastern Time, it had
been able to “safely re-establish our operation.” 

United, at around 6:30 a.m., posted that some flights had
resumed as the company continued to work to restore systems. The carrier issued
a waiver “to make it easter to change your travel plans” on the
United website or app.

Delta at 6:24 a.m. posted on its website that “due to a
vendor technology issue,” it was working to resume operations “as
quickly as possible.” The carrier also was working to issue a travel
waiver to allow customers scheduled to travel Friday to manage changes to their
itinerary via the carrier’s website or app.

Friday’s outage allegedly was caused by a software update
issued by CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm whose software is used by companies
around the world to protect against hackers and outside breaches, according to
a report
in The New York Times
. According
to the Associated Press
, the “disruption appeared piecemeal and was
apparently related to whether the companies used Microsoft cloud-based
services.” This issue follows a Microsoft outage that happened Thursday and
impacted some Microsoft clients in the central United States, according to the
report.

As of 6:50 a.m. Friday, FlightAware data showed that 1,324
flights globally had been cancelled and 17,326 were delayed. American had the
largest number of canceled flights at 244 or 6 percent of its schedule, with
115 delayed. United was third with 128 or 4 percent of scheduled flights
canceled and 127 delayed, and Delta fourth with 107 or 2 percent of flights
canceled and 118 delayed.



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