EasyJet top boss quits amid growing anger over flight chaos

Passengers check-in at the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport in West Sussex which is reopening on Sunday to meet expected strong demand for air travel this summer. The terminal has been dormant since June 15 2020 to reduce costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture date: Sunday March 27, 2022.
EasyJet queues at Gatwick Airport in June.

A top easyJet boss has resigned amid growing anger over flight disruption and chaos at UK airports.

Chief operating officer Peter Bellew, who joined from Ryanair two-and-a-half years ago, stepped down to “pursue other business opportunities”, the budget airline said in a statement.

EasyJet has been one of the worst hit for cancellations in recent months and has axed thousands of flights, including many on the day they were due to depart.

Trade union Unite last month claimed there was a “lack of leadership” within easyJet, and Mr Bellew should be “taking control of this situation”.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said on Monday: “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.”

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The Luton-based carrier’s statement added that it is monitoring its daily operations "very closely" and that it has "taken pre-emptive action to build further resilience for the summer due to the current operating environment".

EasyJet said it is continuing to operate up to 1,700 flights each day and carrying up to 250,000 passengers.

The aviation sector is struggling to cope with the rising demand for travel amid staff shortages and difficulties obtaining security clearance for new recruits.

Travellers told ITV News how they slept on the floor in Bristol Airport after their holidays were cancelled last-minute, others were left stranded abroad, and many waited hours amid delays.

EasyJet announced last month it would scrap thousands of summer flights in a bid to avoid last-minute cancellations.

The move was also in response to caps introduced by Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol airports.

In May, the carrier expected its capacity to be at around 97% of 2019 levels between July and September, but that has been reduced to 90%.

EasyJet has appointed David Morgan – who has been with the airline since 2016 – as interim chief operations officer.

Mr Lundgren said: “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.

“David has significant experience and deep knowledge of the business and operation, and will provide strong leadership for the airline this summer.”