British Airways CEO replaced as company fights for survival during COVID-19 pandemic

LONDON (AP) — British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has been replaced after 4 1/2 years on the job as the COVID-19 pandemic pummels 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International Consolidated Airlines Group, BA’s parent company, said Monday that Cruz had been replaced by Sean Doyle, previously the boss of Aer Lingus, another carrier in the group.

BA has been criticized in recent months for its handling of 12,000 job cuts linked to the pandemic. The airline’s passenger traffic dropped 95% from a year earlier in the second quarter, leading to a first-half operating loss of 4.04 billion euros ($4.77 billion).

Airlines around the world have seen passenger numbers plummet amid government-imposed travel restrictions and concerns about the safety of air travel during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Cruz told the House of Commons transport select committee that BA was “fighting for our own survival.”

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. 

The back-and-forth over stimulus comes 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 Oct. 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 dealmaking while still expressing eagerness to strike one. 

Contributing: Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

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