British Airways owner says CEO will stay until September amid group restructure

IAG CEO Willie Walsh. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 May 2020

British Airways owner says CEO will stay until September amid group restructure

LONDON: British Airways-owner IAG said that CEO Willie Walsh would stay on until September to steer it through the coronavirus crisis, and that it was planning for flights to return to service in July.

Walsh had been planning to retire in March, but will now leave on Sept. 24, the group said, when Luis Gallego will succeed him.

IAG said on Thursday that it was planning for flights to restart in July and that passenger capacity would be about 50 percent lower, adding that the return was subject to the easing of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

The coronavirus pandemic has halted most flights, leaving airlines across the world battling to cut costs, shed jobs and shrink their operations to try to ride out a travel slump which is expected to last years.

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IAG said that it was planning for flights to restart in July.

IAG, which also owns Iberia and Vueling in Spain and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, warned that passenger demand would not return to previous levels until 2023, and as such it would seek to defer deliveries of 68 aircraft.

That adds to steps it announced last week to try to cope with the crisis, when it said that it would seek to cut up to 12,000 jobs, or over a quarter of staff at its biggest airline British Airways.

The group also said on Thursday that it had €10 billion ($10.8 billion) of liquidity available to it at the end of April, making it one of the financially strongest airlines in Europe.

“Group-wide restructuring is essential in order to get through the crisis and preserve an adequate level of liquidity. We intend to come out of the crisis as a stronger group,” Walsh said. 


‘Disappointed’ billionaire brothers urge new talks on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

Updated 8 min 16 sec ago

‘Disappointed’ billionaire brothers urge new talks on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

  • The Reuben brothers want to buy 10 per cent of the club as part of PIF takeover
  • Brothers remain 'totally supportive' of the deal should there be a way forward

DUBAI: Another big financial backer of the £300 million ($390 million) bid for Newcastle United football club has come out in favor of a takeover led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The Reuben brothers, multibillionaire businessmen who want to buy 10 per cent of the club, said on Monday they were “very disappointed” when the bid was withdrawn late last week after months of stalling by the Premier League in England.

“We would welcome any resurrection of talks and progress with the Premier League and are aware that the Reuben brothers remain totally supportive of the deal should there be a way forward,” said a statement from their company, Arena Racing.

The brothers’ renewed support for the deal will raise the pressure on Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, who has remained silent since the takeover offer was withdrawn last week.

PIF made no secret of its disappointment and frustration that the Premier League — which has the duty to approve or reject a takeover of a member club  — has reached no decision since contracts were exchanged on the deal in April that would give the Saudi sovereign wealth fund 80 per cent of the 128-year-old club

Amanda Staveley, the British financier who has been at the heart of the deal and would have bought the remaining 10 per cent, also wants to see the deal revived.

The Reuben brothers, who already run two horseracing courses in the northeast of England, said: “We were planning on creating one of the premier sporting hubs in the UK, undertaking development work that is vital for the region and enjoying valuable synergies with the football club.

“We continue to hope that those exciting plans are not in vain.”