C: Tomek Baginski – Unsplash

After cutting 12,000 jobs from its 42,000 strong workforce earlier this year, British Airways announced last week that it is set to replace its own chief executive.

Alex Cruz is stepping down as chairman and CEO of British Airways; the position held by the Spanish native for the past four and a half years.

International Airline Group (IAG), the primary owner of Britain’s flagship airline, has confirmed that the decision will go into effect immediately but gave no specific explaination for the leadership change.

“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.” Luis Gallego, the new CEO of IAG who took over just last month said.

C: Arie Wubben – Unsplash

Sean Doyle, the former chief executive of Aer Lingus, will replace Cruz.

Doyle had previously worked for British Airways for 20 years before joining Aer Lingus in early 2019

Meanwhile, Cruz will remain onboard for a transitional period.

There will be little to no honeymoon period for Doyle after taking the helm though.

His first – and main – challenge will be to ride out the COVID-19 storm, including convincing the UK government to adopt a clear-cut pre-flight testing regime for travelers.

British Airways lost 95% of its passenger traffic in the second quarter when compared to a year earlier, contributing to a 4.04 billion euro loss (NT$136.5 billion) over the first half of the year.

To cut down on expenditures, the new CEO has already introduced a “bounce-back plan” that scales back the airline’s operations at London’s Gatwick airport, and shifts some of its flights to Heathrow.

All short-haul flights departing from Gatwick are cancelled until March next year; the first significant policy move Doyle has put in place since taking over.

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