NAME: Basil Ben Baldanza

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NAME: Basil Ben Baldanza

AGE: 49. Born Dec. 3, 1961, in Rome, N.Y.

EDUCATION: Syracuse University, B.A., 1984. Princeton University, Master of Public Affairs, 1986.

FAMILY: Wife, Marcia A. Baldanza, director of grant programs for Palm Beach County Schools. One son, Enzo Anthony, age 4.

CAREER: Yield management and finance manager, American Airlines 1986-1991; Northwest Airlines 1991-1993; United Parcel Service, 1993-1994; Continental Airlines 1994-1997; COO, Grupo TACA, 1997-1999; senior vice president marketing and planning, US Airways, 1999-2005; president and COO Spirit Airlines, 2005-2006; president and CEO Spirit Airlines, 2006-present.

HIS ALTERNATIVE CAREER PATH: “At one point, I wanted to be a professional trombone player. Then I realized if I wanted to be a successful trombone player I’d have to be like one of the 10 best in the world and if I wanted to be a successful businessman I just had to be good.”

THOUGHTS ON AIRLINE MERGERS: “Consumers over time will be better off when the airline industry is a stable, profit-producing industry.”

HIS FEELINGS ON FLYING COACH: “I’d rather fly on JetBlue than fly in the coach cabin of almost any legacy airline.”

WHAT HE READS: “There’s an author, Steven Saylor, who writes this series of books about ancient Rome and has a character, almost an Alex Cross kind of character but an ancient Rome Alex Cross. I like his books. They’re fun. And you learn history.”

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: In his 20s, Baldanza and his brother built model rockets, placing a mouse on board. “The mouse survived. He floated back to earth on a glider. He was wearing a little helmet made out of a Ping-Pong ball. I’m sure PETA hated it.”

HIS FAVORITE AIRPORT: “Reagan National. There are good restaurants. It’s small, it’s really close in. You can be doing whatever you want to do and then say my flight’s in an hour, I’ve got to go.”

2010 SALARY: $607,360