Business Irish

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Ryanair rehires Peter Bellew to sort out pilot mess

Peter Bellew is leaving Malaysia Airlines to re-join Ryanair. Photo: Bloomberg
Peter Bellew is leaving Malaysia Airlines to re-join Ryanair. Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Crisis-hit Ryanair has confirmed that Peter Bellew - the highly-regarded CEO of Malaysia Airlines - is to rejoin the Irish airline as its chief operations officer.

He will succeed Michael Hickey, who recently resigned in the wake of the carrier's pilot-rostering fiasco. Mr Bellew last month indicated to the Irish Independent that he was not intending to rejoin Ryanair, where he was previously head of sales and marketing and deputy head of flight operations.

He is known to have visited Ryanair headquarters as the flights fiasco unfolded, however.

He's rejoining Ryanair after two years at Malaysia Airlines. Before that, he spent eight years on Ryanair's operations team.

He will rejoin the Irish airline on December 1 to "ensure that the pilot-rostering failure which Ryanair suffered in early September will never be repeated", the carrier said in a statement yesterday.

He'll be responsible for managing pilot careers and training. Ryanair has cancelled more than 20,000 flights as a result of a failure to adequately roster its schedule, a result of a combination of failures to manage pilot-leave allocations and the loss of senior pilots to rivals, including Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Mr Bellew joined Malaysia Airlines as chief operations officer in September 2015, when it was led by former Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller. Last year, the Irishman became Malaysian's third chief executive officer in two years when Mr Mueller left to join Dubai-based Emirates.

In Malaysia, Mr Bellew was part of the team charged with restoring confidence in the airline in the wake of the loss of two planes: MH370 which vanished over the Indian Ocean and a passenger craft shot down over Ukraine.

Irish Independent

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