EasyJet deputy quits after major flight disruption

EasyJet’s chief operating officer has resigned after a series of flight cancellations and disruption at the airline in recent weeks.

The airline said Peter Bellew had resigned “to pursue other business opportunities” and wished him well.

It comes after thousands of EasyJet flights have been cancelled – some at short notice.

Trade union Unite last month criticised a “lack of leadership” at the airline and urged Mr Bellew to “take control”.

Announcing Mr Bellew’s resignation, EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said it was “absolutely focused on delivering a safe and reliable operation this summer.”

He said the role of interim chief operations officer would be in the “very capable hands of” David Morgan “who will provide strong leadership for the airline this summer.”

Mr Morgan has been with EasyJet since 2016 and is currently director of flight operations. He had previously led overall operations at the airline, as interim chief operating officer in 2019.

The aviation sector shed thousands of jobs during Covid pandemic, but is now struggling to meet the rebound in demand for travel.

EasyJet has been one of the worst hit for cancellations in recent months. It has axed thousands of flights, including many on the day they were due to depart.

The airline told the BBC it will not be announcing any further cancellations this week and the last affected customers will be told today.

It is understood just over 150,000 of the 160,000 flights initially scheduled to run over July, August and September, will go ahead. Meaning roughly 10,000 have been cancelled – or about 6%.

The airline said the majority of its flights were unaffected by the cancellations, with it continuing to operating up to 1,700 flights a day.

Shares in EasyJet, which have fallen back to the lows of March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, were trading down almost 3% after the announcement – it’s one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE250.

More cancellations from a raft of airlines are expected this week due to a government “amnesty” on flight slots.

Operators have been given until the end of Friday to change schedules without facing a potential penalty, in a bid to minimise disruption in the peak summer holiday season.(BBC)