EasyJet appoints Ryanair executive as chief operating officer

Published on : Wednesday, July 24, 2019

EasyJet has appointed rival Ryanair’s operations chief Peter Bellew, a 30-year industry veteran, as it navigates intense competition in the European short-haul market.


The airline announced Mr Bellew’s appointment as chief operating officer alongside a trading update that revealed an 11 per cent rise in revenue for the latest quarter.


EasyJet said a strong Easter and a reduction in long delays and cancellations had helped boost total revenue to £1.76bn in the three months to June. Passenger revenue rose 10.7 per cent to £1.39bn.


The British low-cost carrier said it expected to deliver a profit before tax of between £400m and £440m in the second half, in line with market expectations.


Mr Bellew spent nine years at Ryanair, where he held a number of roles, including director of flight operations, before he left for Malaysia Airlines, where he was eventually named chief executive. He rejoined Ryanair in December 2017, following a pilot rostering crisis at the Irish carrier that led to the cancellation of 2,000 flights.


Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said Mr Bellow had an “exceptional level of experience” in low-cost and full-service airlines and was “a great leader with a proven track record in delivering results”.


Conditions in the European airline industry have been worsening after several carriers warned they were facing tough trading conditions.


In June, Lufthansa issued its second profit warning this year as it continued to face tough competition in its short-haul market. Last week, Norwegian Air Shuttle reported that net profits fell to NKr82.8m ($9.6m) in the second quarter, from NKr300m a year earlier. This week, Ryanair announced it would cut flights next summer due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jets, which has delayed the delivery of new aircraft.


EasyJet is unaffected because it has an Airbus-only fleet. Its revenue per seat increased slightly in the second quarter — from £60.44 to £61.22.


Mr Lundgren said: “We remain very focused on delivering our revenue initiatives and driving costs down to enhance our profitability per seat.”


Mr Bellew said easyJet had a great product with an enviable position at many of Europe’s primary airports, adding that the airline had “always been an innovator among global low cost carriers”.



























@The Financial Times

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