Robert Fornaro

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Robert L. Fornaro
Alma materRutgers College
OccupationCEO of Spirit Airlines
Spouse(s)Karen Fornaro
Bob Fornaro and Gary C. Kelly

Robert L. Fornaro (also known as Bob Fornaro, born 1952 or 1953)[1] is the CEO of Spirit Airlines. He was the chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of AirTran Holdings Inc., and its subsidiary, AirTran Airways in Orlando, Florida until AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines in May 2011, when he became a full-time consultant on the acquisition, sitting on the integration board.[2][3]


After he left Harvard, Fornaro worked for Trans World Airlines in scheduling and planning.[1] Fornaro was senior vice president - marketing and planning at Braniff, Inc. Fornaro served as vice president - research for Jesup & Lamont Securities, Inc. and director of future schedule planning for Trans World Airlines. He was then senior vice president - marketing planning at Northwest Airlines from 1988–1992, where he managed international alliances and regional airline partner relationships.[1]

From 1992 to 1997, Fornaro served as senior vice president - planning for US Airways where he directed the company's route planning, pricing and revenue management and overall corporate strategy.[1] Prior to joining AirTran Airways, he operated an aviation consulting practice.

Fornaro joined AirTran Airways in March 1999 as president and CFO. He was named chief operating officer and elected to the board of directors in March 2001.[1] Fornaro became chief executive officer on 1 November 2007,[4] taking over from Joe Leonard.[1]

When AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 2011, Fornaro received a payment of $2.9 million.[5] Fornaro is acting as a consultant for the integration of the airlines.[6]

In May 2014 Fornaro was elected to the Board of Directors of Spirit Airlines.[7]

On January 5, 2016, Fornaro was appointed to CEO of Spirit Airlines, replacing Ben Baldanza.[8] In December 2017, it was announced that Fornaro would step down as CEO in January 2019 and be replaced by CFO Ted Christie.[9]

Education and personal life[edit]

Fonaro is originally from Long Island, N.Y., and he attended Rutgers College in New Brunswick, N.J., on a lacrosse scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in economics. He was a lacrosse midfielder.[10] He also received a master's degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1] He is a director of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of the Georgia Aquarium.[citation needed] Fornaro and his wife, Karen, whom he married in the 1970s, reside in Orlando and have three adult children, two daughters and a son.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Interview: AirTran chief executive Bob Fornaro". Flightglobal. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  2. ^ Maxon, Terry (5 May 2011). "Southwest announces interim reorganization as it takes control of AirTran Airways". Airline Biz Blog. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  3. ^ Jackman, Frank; Andrew Compart (2 May 2011). "Three Years For SWA/AirTran Integration". Aviation Week. Retrieved 22 May 2011.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "AirTran elevates president to CEO". St. Petersburg Times. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  5. ^ Ahles, Andrea (28 April 2011). "AirTran CEO Bob Fornaro to get $2.9 million after Southwest merger". SkyTalk. Star-Telegram. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ Associated Press (2 May 2011). "Southwest closes $1B purchase of AirTran". KHOU. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Spirit Airlines Board Elects Robert L. Fornaro as New Board Member". Spirit. Globe Newswire. 1 May 2014. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Brash, Fee-Happy CEO of Spirit Airlines Abruptly Replaced". ABC News. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  9. ^ Press, The Associated. "Spirit Airlines picks insider to become next CEO in 2019". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  10. ^ Garcia, Jason (10 February 2009). "Talking With... - Bob Fornaro. AirTran hopes economy gets off the ground soon". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 22 May 2011.

External links[edit]