British Airways has replaced CEO Alex Cruz who has been serving the company for the last 4 ½ years. As the coronavirus pandemic majorly affects airlines around the world.
International Consolidated Airlines Group, BA’s parent company, said Monday that Cruz had been replaced by Sean Doyle, previously the boss of Aer Lingus, another carrier in the group.
The sudden change in management comes as British Airways, like much of the rest of the travel industry, is urgently trying to stay afloat. The spread of the coronavirus and ensuring travel restrictions have hit airlines, especially long-haul carriers, hard.
Last month, IAG said it had seen “an overall leveling off of bookings” after a brief pickup in the summer. It said it planned to fly even less for the rest of this year. And next than it had previously forecast.
“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, chief executive of IAG, said.
However, British Airways has been majorly condemned in recent months. As the airline had to cut 12,000 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The airline’s passenger numbers were low by 95 percent as compared to the previous year’s second quarter. This made the airline suffer financially and face an operating loss of 4.04 billion euros ($4.77 billion).
Due to the government travel restrictions and concerns about the safety of air travel during the pandemic. Airlines around the world have seen passenger numbers drop drastically. And it is getting difficult for them to recover from the crisis.
Earlier this year, Cruz told the House of Commons transport select committee that BA was “fighting for our own survival.”
US Response For Helping the Airlines
In the U.S., The White House sent out more mixed signals on a COVID-19 stimulus plan Sunday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the latest $1.8 trillion stimulus offer from the White House.
However, airlines were again approaching the White House for more support for the airline industry. As many of the benefits previously approved by Congress have already run out. Airlines face mass layoffs and furloughs after their billions of dollars in federal payroll assistance expired on October 1. Congress has not passed a comprehensive relief package since March.
On Sunday, Pelosi told House Democrats, “we remain at an impasse” on stimulus negotiations until both sides were able to work out the total amount of funding to fight the pandemic and a COVID-19 testing plan, among other provisions.
The White House, on the other hand, seemed to both retreat from deal-making while still expressing eagerness to strike one.