Neeleman, a former Southwest exec, started JetBlue under the name NewAir in 1998. Following a rough patch in mid-2000s, he stepped down as CEO in 2007 but remained as Chairman of the Board. In 2008, he left that job to launch Brazil-based Azul Linhas Aereas.
This morning, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported that Neeleman was trying to raise $3.2 billion to acquire JetBlue and Portuguese carrier TAP Portugal. He had reportedly also spoken to the Brazilian government about investing $600 million.
But Neeleman says his “focus is 100% on taking Azul public” and that he’s never discussed talked with the Brazilian government about any plans to acquire JetBlue.