David Neeleman Biography, Age, Childhood, Early Life, Education, Career, Family, Personal Life, Wife, Legacy, Trivia, Social Media, Net Worth & more

David Neeleman Biography

Businessman David G. Neeleman was born in America on October 16, 1959, in Brazil. Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue Airways, Azul Brazilian Airlines, and Breeze Airways are the five commercial airlines he created. He shared ownership of TAP Air Portugal with Humberto Pedrosa and Aigle Azur to the tune of 45%. He acquired Cypriot citizenship in 2017.

Neeleman was reared in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, after being born in So Paulo, Brazil. Up to the age of five, he resided in Brazil.

John Neeleman, his grandpa, was a Dutch immigrant who was born in Utah and owned nine convenience stores.


David Neeleman Childhood & Early Life

Rose and Gary Neeleman welcomed David into the world on October 16, 1959 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. His family follows the Mormon faith, and his grandfather is from Holland. Gary Neeleman, Neeleman’s father, had been to Brazil as a young missionary. He returned to work and live in Brazil since he was so enchanted by the location.

The first few years of David Neeleman’s life were spent in Brazil, where his father worked as a reporter for United Press International. When he was 5 years old, his family relocated to Cottonwoods, a town in Utah, not far from Salt Lake City. Neeleman attended Brighton High School in this area.


By the age of nine, he was helping out at a store, working at the cash register, as his grandfather owned food stores. Though he did not have a lot of free time at school for sports and other activities, these years helped him lay the groundwork for his future in business and customer service.

He found school challenging because he had trouble with the standardized assessments due of his dyslexia. His parents supported him in overcoming this obstacle by pointing out the special skills he possessed that others lacked. He attended the University of Utah for his higher education but left after three years.

He served a mission in Brazil at the age of 19, as is customary for Mormons. He spent time with those who were oppressed and without anything. He made the decision to return someday and assist the locals as a result of the encounter.

David Neeleman Career

He and June Morris co-founded the low-cost charter airline Morris Air, where he served as executive vice president from 1984 until 1988.

Neeleman was appointed president of Morris Air in 1988. Neeleman was on their Executive Planning Committee for five months in 1993, the year Morris Air was purchased by Southwest Airlines for $130 million (Neeleman received $25 million from the acquisition).

Neeleman became the helm of Open Skies, a provider of touch-screen check-in and reservation software for airlines, after leaving Southwest. HP later purchased Open Skies in 1999. He also assisted WestJet, another fledgling airline, at the same time. August 1998 saw the incorporation of JetBlue in Delaware, and Neeleman launched the company as “NewAir” in February 1999.

His salary and bonus for the year 2002 as the CEO of JetBlue Airways were $200,000 and $90,000. Neeleman gave the JetBlue Crewmember Crisis Fund, which was established for JetBlue staff who have encountered financial difficulties, his entire salary.

Neeleman was replaced as JetBlue’s CEO on May 10, 2007, by David Barger, and as the board chairman on May 21, 2008, by Joel Peterson.

Neeleman formally unveiled plans to start a brand-new airline, Azul (Portuguese for “blue”), a domestic carrier in Brazil, on March 27, 2008. Azul, the largest airline in Brazil, ended 2013 with sales of more than 5 billion (BRL).

The creation of a new firm, Vigzul, a home security and monitoring company, was announced on October 30, 2013, by Neeleman and his youngest brother, Mark James Neeleman, a co-founder of Azul. David Allred, Brett Chambers, and Mark Neeleman launched Vigzul based on his idea. Neeleman also acts as the company’s chairman of the board and a major investor.

The Portuguese government made the decision to sell the TAP Air Portugal Group, which is the owner of the country’s airline, TAP Air Portugal, to the Gateway consortium in June 2015. David Neeleman and Humberto Pedrosa will acquire control of 61% of the airline’s stock. TAP Air Portugal will continue to use Portugal as its primary hub for at least 30 years. The Portuguese government raised its shareholding to 72,5% in July 2020. This ownership came from Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which now owns 22.5% of the company.

David Neeleman New US startup

He raised $100 million in funding and revealed his intentions for Breeze Airways, a brand-new US airline, in June 2018.

A Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 60 A220-300 aircraft by Breeze Airways and Airbus was signed on July 17, 2018, and deliveries will start in 2021.

John Ioannidis’ failure to declare that Neeleman had sponsored his estimate of the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in Santa Clara County, California, was discovered in 2020. Results from Ioannidis were far worse than those of the government, posing a conflict of interest.

David Neeleman Personal life

Neeleman was a 19-year-old missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who spent two years in Brazil. ADHD has been identified in him. He and his ex-wife Vicki Vranes have ten children together. Since then, the pair has divorced.

Zach Wilson, the quarterback for the New York Jets, is his nephew. His brother, Dr. Stephen Neeleman, MD, a general and trauma surgeon, was one of the founders of the American healthcare firm HealthEquity.

For his services to the commercial aviation sector, Neeleman won the Tony Jannus Award in 2005. He is a citizen of Cyprus, the United States, and Brazil, and speaks Portuguese fluently.

David Neeleman Trivia

Indian food is David Neeleman’s favorite. Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines, introduced him to it.

Where is David Neeleman from?

Neeleman was reared in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, after being born in So Paulo, Brazil. Up to the age of five, he resided in Brazil.

What is David Neeleman known for?

Entrepreneur and Brazilian-American David Neeleman launched Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue Airways, and Azul Brazilian Airlines, four commercial airlines. Along with Humberto Pedrosa and Aigle Azur, he also shares ownership of TAP Air Portugal, a commercial airline based in Europe.

Where did Neeleman learn entrepreneurship?

Neeleman plunged into the realm of entrepreneurship during his undergraduate years, according to an NPR Podcast. He used the chance to market timeshares for a friend of a friend there, and he was somewhat successful.

How rich is David Neeleman?

David Neeleman is a Brazilian-American businessman with a $400 million net worth. His annual compensation is $1.25 million. In October 1959, David Neeleman was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He established Morris Air, JetBlue Airways, WestJet, and Azul Brazilian Airlines, four commercial airlines.

How many houses and cars does David Neeleman have?

He currently has an unknown amount of vehicles and residences.

How much does David Neeleman make annually?

David earns $200 every year.

How many businesses does David Neeleman own?

Although it is well known that he has a business-minded disposition, it is unknown how many companies he now owns.

What brands does David Neeleman have?

He has been spotted promoting numerous brands, however his ownership of any particular brands is unknown.

How many Investments does David Neeleman have?

He is a very private person, thus he hasn’t disclosed how many investments he has made to date.



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