Wings Magazine

Canada Jetlines adds Stephenson, Dakens

Canada Jetlines Ltd. has announced the appointment of John Stephenson as an independent director, effective immediately. Stephenson brings more than 20 years of senior management and executive experience in the ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) sector, being instrumental in the growth and development of Wizz Air and easyJet, two highly successful European ULCCs.

May 2, 2017  By Canada Jetlines

Stephenson spent 10 years with Wizz Air Holdings PLC, the largest ULCC in Central and Eastern Europe, beginning in 2006 as chief commercial officer, and then being promoted to and serving as executive vice president from 2009 to 2016. As executive vice president, Stephenson led and had oversight of all commercial, operational and information technology activities as well as all subsidiaries. As chief commercial officer, he led and was accountable for all commercial activities, including sales and marketing, distribution, customer services, ticket and ancillary revenue management, network and airport development and information technology.

During Stephenson’s time at Wizz Air, the fleet grew from six to 75 aircraft, revenue grew to over EUR 1.5 billion, net profit margin grew to over 15 percent, the company achieved the second lowest cost per available seat mile among listed European airlines and successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange with a concurrent EUR 350 million capital raise.

Stephenson also held progressively senior roles with easyJet PLC, a U.K. based ULCC and Europe’s second-largest low-cost airline by number of passengers carried, first as head of revenue management, and ultimately as commercial director. He was with easyJet from 1997 through 2006, when the fleet grew from 3 to over 100 aircraft and the company became one of Europe’s largest and most profitable airlines as well one of the most recognized ULCC brands in the world.

“John has an exceptional 20-year track record in the ULCC sector, having played a key role in the success of not one, but two European ULCCs operating in the world’s largest, most complex and most competitive market,” said Mark Morabito, executive chairman of Jetlines. “He is a highly experienced ULCC executive with invaluable in-depth knowledge of all facets of the ULCC business model. We very much look forward to John’s contributions to our team and strategy.”


Stephenson is a graduate from University of Brighton in England with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics for decision making.

The company has also appointed Les Dakens to its advisory board Dakens has over 30 years of experience working in human resources for top-tier companies and is widely recognized for his leadership in developing best practices as one of North America’s top human resource professionals. His expertise will be invaluable as Jetlines builds its commercial and operations teams.

Dakens currently serves as managing director and partner at My Next Season Canada, an organization which advises transitioning executives. Previously, Dakens held numerous senior management roles, including senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Maple Leaf Foods Inc., senior vice president, People with Canadian National Railway, and North American vice president of Human Resources at H.J. Heinz Company.

The appointments of Messrs. Stephenson and Dakens are part of Jetlines’ ongoing program to attract outstanding, world-class leaders to its board of directors and Advisory Board, with more such appointments to follow in the near future. Jetlines has granted a total of 375,000 stock options to directors and consultants. The stock options have been issued for a five-year term, with one quarter vesting every six months from the date of grant.


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