Business Irish

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ryanair's Bellew heads to rival Easyjet as COO

Boarding: Ryanair’s Peter Bellew helped to navigate a pilot shortage crisis at the carrier
Boarding: Ryanair’s Peter Bellew helped to navigate a pilot shortage crisis at the carrier
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair's Peter Bellew has been named chief operating officer of Easyjet, just a week after announcing his departure from the Irish carrier.

Mr Bellew currently holds the same role at Ryanair and is due to leave the airline in December.

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The Co Meath native had been hotly tipped to take over as chief executive of Ryanair, when Michael O'Leary moves to being group CEO later this year.

Industry insiders had also believed that Mr Bellew would be a top contender for the chief executive role at Scandinavian carrier Norwegian, whose co-founder and CEO Bjorn Kjos resigned last week.

Mr Bellew rejoined Ryanair in late 2017, helping it to navigate a pilot shortage crisis that ultimately led to the carrier recognising trade unions.

He had previously worked as flight operations director at Ryanair. Immediately prior to returning to the Irish carrier, he was chief executive of Malaysia Airlines.

Shares in Easyjet rose nearly 4pc at one point yesterday, as the carrier said that it had a "robust" third-quarter performance despite macroeconomic challenges.

The performance failed to lift shares in Ryanair. It was trading 2pc lower by lunchtime.

"We remain very focused on delivering our revenue initiatives and driving costs down to enhance our profitability per seat," said Easyjet chief executive Johan Lundgren.

"With second-half forward bookings at 78pc, we have better visibility on the second half and expect to deliver a profit before tax of between £400m and £440m (€445m and €490m), in line with market expectations," he said.

"Make no mistake, it is still tough out there," warned Mr Lundgren.

The airline's total revenue over the three months to the end of June rose 11.4pc to £1.76bn.

Passenger revenue was 10.7pc higher at £1.38bn, while ancillary revenue was up 14.3pc at £374m.

Easyjet carried 26.4 million passengers in the quarter, which was up 8pc as capacity rose 10pc.

Irish Independent

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