Low-cost airline easyJet said on Monday that it had lost its chief operating officer who has quit in order to “pursue other business opportunities”. His resignation comes as easyJet battles operational woes and a wave of cabin crew strikes.
Peter Bellew joined the Luton-based airline two and a half year ago after defecting from rival discounter Ryanair where he held the same role.
Ryanair attempted to stop Bellew from joining the Stelios Haji-Ioannou founded airline, claiming in an infamous court case that Bellew had signed a ‘non compete clause’ that prevented him from doing the same role at a rival carrier.
The Irish High Court rejected Ryanair’s case and Bellew joined easyJet just before the pandemic struck.
Bellew quickly faced criticism from cabin crew and pilot unions who accused him of “misleading” investors and staff in efforts to reduce employee costs.
As the airline industry has emerged from the pandemic, easyJet has particularly struggled to keep up with the pace of demand returning.
The airline has failed to hire enough cabin crew to operate its planned schedule and is now facing crew walkouts over a dispute about pay and conditions.
Bellew resigned on Friday but the news was not announced until Monday. In a statement, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “I would like to thank Peter for his hard work and wish him well. Everyone at easyJet remains absolutely focused on delivering a safe and reliable operation this summer.”
“I am pleased that Operations will be in the very capable hands of David Morgan who can move seamlessly into this role having previously led the operation, as interim Chief Operating Officer, throughout 2019.”
The airline said it was focused on its daily operation and “continues to monitor this very closely.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.