Airlink has named James Hnat, former JetBlue executive, as incoming chair of the board of trustees. Hnat will succeed Airlink’s founder Bob Brown, a founding partner of Vx Capital, who will remain on the board as chair emeritus. Hnat joined the board on May 21 as vice-chair and will begin leading the organization on January 1, 2020 as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of its first humanitarian response.
“Jim is a highly respected and accomplished leader with a strong vision that will guide Airlink into the next decade,” said Brown. “We are honored to have him join other volunteer leaders dedicated to ensuring assistance quickly reaches communities impacted by disasters and other humanitarian crises.”
Hnat joined JetBlue in 2001 and retired as the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary in 2018. He was chairman of private jet and premium scheduled charter companies JetSuite, Inc. and JetSuiteX. Hnat previously served as an attorney at the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy. His aviation legal practice began in airline defense litigation at Condon & Forsyth.
Hnat serves on the boards of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. He also is an advisory board member of Boom Supersonic in Denver and Washington, DC-based strategic advisory firm Pallas Advisors.
Hnat received his Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Boston University and earned a Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School.
“I am honored to support Airlink, its team of professionals and its partners as chairman moving into Airlink’s second decade of bringing the aviation community together to provide global humanitarian aid and disaster relief,” said Mr. Hnat. “The aviation industry is uniquely positioned to connect the globe in the spirit of partnership, compassion and collaboration with people, resources and supplies in times of crisis. We are grateful to Bob Brown for his founding vision and leadership and I look forward to collaborating with him to continue his good work.”
Hnat was identified during a global search launched by Airlink with assistance from Tim McNamara and Susan Thompson of Odgers Berndtson’s transportation practice.