Cruz Ditches British Airways Amid Worst Crisis In History

Alex Cruz has stepped down as the CEO of IAG owned carrier British Airways. The move was announced today and will be carried out with immediate effect. Cruz’s departure comes as British Airways deals with the worst crisis of its existence.

British Airways, Alex Cruz, Resignation
Final boarding has been called for British Airways CEO, Alex Cruz. Photo: Getty Images

2020 has been one crazy year for airlines. A year ago, people across the industry were looking towards another successful year, with a significant focus on sustainability. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In March, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, with the airline industry brought to its knees by mid-April.

Farewell Mr. Cruz

The departure of Alex Cruz from British Airways will be the airline’s second high profile departure within the last week. On Thursday, the airline waved farewell to the Boeing 747 after more than 50 years in service with the airline. This morning it was announced that Alex Cruz would step down as British Airways’ Chief Executive. He will remain as the airline’s non-executive chairman.

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Commenting on Alex Cruz’s departure, IAG chief executive, Luis Gallego said,

“I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.”

A shuffle in IAG management

As final boarding looms for Cruz, a shuffle in senior staff has taken place across IAG as each position needed to be filled when its current holder moved up. Sean Doyle is to become the new CEO of British Airways, and will eventually take over as chairman after a transition period.

British Airways, Alex Cruz, Resignation
Aer Lingus’ CEO, Sean Doyle, will take the top job in British Airways. Photo: Aer Lingus

Doyle initially joined British Airways in 1998. He had held multiple roles in the British flag carrier before he joined its executive management committee in 2016. Doyle became the CEO of Aer Lingus in January 2019.

The individual replacing Doyle for the long-haul as the CEO of Aer Lingus hasn’t been decided yet. As such, the Irish Airline’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Donal Moriarty, will become an interim CEO for the airline. IAG will announce Doyle’s permanent replacement in due course.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Departure
Last week British Airways said farewell to the Boeing 747. Photo: British Airways

British Airways’ most challenging year

The departure of Cruz comes as British Airways faces the worst crisis in its history. The airline is operating a severely curtailed schedule due to the colossal fall in passenger numbers experienced across the globe. Unlike many others, British Airways never fully suspended flights, as it was able to keep them full of freight thanks to sister IAG Cargo. In March, Cruz said that British Airways was facing “a crisis of global proportions like no other.”

What do you make of Cruz’s departure from British Airways? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!