|Ben was probably sold a bill of goods including suggestions he could make the same sort of money DGN made off WJ. News of his involvement, which is strictly "name leverage", was circulating in the business in late March.
He's got no skin in the game and probably couldn't find Winnipeg on a map.
If it succeeded, he'd get a big payday. If it failed, so what? No one south of the border is paying any attention anyway.
As "chairman", he has no executive responsibilities. He has much bigger fish to fry elsewhere.
There are a number of smart airline guys south of the border who are collectively asking "wtf"? given a high profile story recently suggesting Ben could be a guy UAL could use.
As hard as it may be for folks in Canada to believe, when it comes to airlines, Canada is an "outta sight, outta mind" market for Americans. No one pays any attention to what's going on up there, least of all a silly ACMI "airline" marketing scheme. Screw up in Canada and no one is going to notice. It's a mulligan. Baldanza knows this. When New Leaf implodes, it won't leave a stain south of the border cause no one will care.
Besides, it's not as if he's going to be moving from the DC area to Winnipeg anytime soon with his family, who relocated there from Florida a few years ago for a very particular reason.
There was a reason WJ never had any US guys on its exec team during the first 10 years. The harsh reality was that none of the guys that were approached had any clue how the Canadian market worked. I recall one guy who knew the US market inside out and was very much involved with a couple of very successful US LCC's suggesting WJ should launch with 3x daily YYC-SEA.
Judging by New Leaf's route structure, or lack thereof, it would appear there continues to be a large void in their route planning department, a void that even their chairman has been unwilling or unable to fill.
I mean, seriously? No feed, no flow and routes like YXX-YXJ and YKA-YYJ in a 160 seat aircraft?
It defies belief.