easyJet COO steps down as low-cost carrier continues to cancel numerous flights

Peter Bellew, Chief Executive Officer at easyJet has resigned with immediate effect as the low-cost carrier’s struggle to operate scheduled flights continues. To date easyJet has cancelled thousands of flights, including on the day of departure, as demand for air travel continues to outstrip the ability of many carriers to rehire staff which had been laid off as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to attracting new staff, a major recruitment problem is the approximate two-week delay while appropriate security checks are carried out before new employees can take up their positions.

Trade union Unite last month claimed there was a “lack of leadership” within easyJet, and Bellew should be “taking control of this situation”. Bellew joined easyJet from Ryanair just two-and-a-half years ago and his resignation was submitted so that he could “pursue other business opportunities.”

Partly in response to caps introduced at Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol airports and partly to avoid last-minute flight cancellations, easyJet has decided to scrap thousands of summer flights and although capacity had originally been anticipated to reach 97% of 2019 levels, this has now been readjusted to 90% of that level.

In a statement released after Bellew’s resignation, the low-cost carrier commented that: “EasyJet remains absolutely focused on our daily operation and continues to monitor this very closely, having taken pre-emptive action to build further resilience for the summer due to the current operating environment. The airline continues to operate up to 1,700 flights each day and carry up to 250,000 passengers.” EasyJet has appointed David Morgan – who has been with the airline since 2016 – as interim Chief Operations Officer.

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