Boss of British Airways Sean Doyle under mounting pressure as its parent company IAG prepares for another quarter of bruising losses
- Directors at IAG said to have already discussed possibility of removing BA chief
- IAG could be quizzed on Doyle’s future when company reports latest results
- City analysts are expecting airline group post loss of £462m
The boss of British Airways is under mounting pressure as its parent company prepares for another quarter of bruising losses.
Directors at International Airlines Group are said to have already discussed the possibility of removing BA chief Sean Doyle over a string of failures, including the recent cancellation of hundreds of flights.
IAG executives could be quizzed on Doyle’s future when the company reports first-quarter results on Friday.
Flying into turbulence: Directors at International Airlines Group are said to have already discussed the possibility of removing BA chief Sean Doyle over a string of failures
City analysts are expecting the airline group, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, to post a loss of £462m for the first three months of 2022.
Soaring jet fuel costs and severe flight disruption have led to brokers at Peel Hunt halving IAG’s annual profit forecasts from £839m to £416m. There have also been warnings that BA’s problems could lead to passengers booking else where. Analyst Chris Tarry said the pressure facing Doyle is ‘huge’: ‘We’re moving to a stage where BA’s reputation is continuing to decline.
‘You look at the short notice of cancellations and it is very disruptive. It is easier and costs less to retain a passenger than to win them back.’
Friday’s figures are likely to raise questions about the recent crises at BA – and Doyle’s role.
Doubt has been cast on the chief executive after sources said the IAG board discussed the possibility of removing him at its most recent meeting.
BA has suffered a string of IT meltdowns and a lack of investment in new systems was said to be one of directors’ main concerns.
Analysts have said the technical blunders are not something IAG’s competitors are facing. When Doyle took over in October 2020 he vowed that BA would ‘stand for excellence’ and again become a stand-out premium airline.
However, he was recently forced to cancel more flights for the next two months due to staff shortages. This comes after BA scrapped more than 1,500 flights in April.
John Strickland, who heads aviation consultancy JLS, said Doyle had been ‘passed the baton when the industry is at its roughest’, adding that he should be given time.
‘He inherited a brief when nobody wished to deal with the challenges,’ he said. ‘He is painfully aware of the need to put things right.’
Doyle informed staff last month that the airline would cut schedules until the end of June. An IAG spokesman said: ‘The IAG Board and its CEO fully support Sean Doyle.’