British Airways has announced it is replacing its chief executive Alex Cruz as the airline navigates “the worst crisis” facing its industry.
Mr Cruz, who has been with BA since 2016, will be immediately replaced by Aer Lingus boss Sean Doyle.
Mr Cruz will stay on as non-executive chairman for a transition period before Mr Doyle also takes on the role.
BA has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with unions over redundancies and pay cuts.
It is cutting 13,000 staff and has been criticised by staff and MPs who claim the airline has been following a “fire and rehire” policy, which left some employees facing pay cuts of up to 50%.
Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, which owns BA, said: “We’re navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and I’m confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position.”
The shake-up is one of the first major movesby Mr Gallego who took over as IAG’s chief executive last month, replacing long-standing boss Willie Walsh.
“This is a sign that the new chief executive of IAG, Luis Gallego, is flexing his muscles and trying to demonstrate he’ll make the changes necessary to lead a sustained recovery for the airline group,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
New data from Heathrow showed the challenges being faced by the travel industry from the coronavirus pandemic. Just 1.2 million passengers travelled through the airport in September, down 82% compared with the same month last year.