EasyJet’s Peter Bellew has resigned as chief operating officer, following weeks of turmoil at the airline.
He has now left “to pursue other business opportunities” the airline said in a statement on Monday, effective July 1, as other European airlines prepare for a difficult summer ahead — including SAS which will now face widespread strikes after pilots voted on Monday to take industrial action.
Airport caps will also contribute to an already challenging period.
For now, David Morgan, easyJet’s director of flight operations, will lead the operations function in an interim role, reporting to CEO Johan Lundgren.
“The board would like to thank Peter for his hard work over the last two and half years and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” the airline said, adding it continues to operate up to 1,700 flights each day, carrying up to 250,000 passengers.
The strike is expected to impact 50 percent of all flights, or 30,000 passengers per day. Flights operated by SAS Link, SAS Connect and SAS’ external partners will not be affected.
“The decision to go on strike now demonstrates reckless behavior from the pilots’ unions and a shockingly low understanding of the critical situation that SAS is in,” said Anko van der Werff, the airline’s president and CEO, in a statement.
A strike at this point is also devastating for debt-ridden SAS which is in dire financial straits as a result of hefty debts.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the airline has its hubs in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Sweden and Denmark both have 21.8 percent stakes in SAS. However, following the latest financial crisis, Sweden had refused to inject more money into the airline.