British Airways hires operating chief to manage travel disruption

Airline recruits René de Groot from Dutch airline KLM to help reboot operations after thousands of cancelled flights

British Airways has hired a new chief operating officer in a management reshuffle that comes as the airline struggles with a spate of disruption and thousands of cancelled flights.

René de Groot will join the airline from Dutch flag-carrier KLM in October, according to an internal email sent to BA staff by chief executive Sean Doyle. Mr De Groot, who held the same position at KLM after training as a pilot, will be charged with rebooting BA’s flagging operations following a testing summer as flights have been cancelled because of staff shortages.

KLM has faced its own operational problems this summer, which have been exacerbated by a staffing crunch at its Amsterdam hub.

On Monday, BA said it would cut more flights – roughly 1,500 – as the aviation sector faced “the most challenging period in its history”.

The Dutch airline, meanwhile, has been sued by local environmental pressure groups which alleges its “Fly Responsibly” ad campaign amounts to greenwashing, in one of the first such lawsuits to hit a major airline.

KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, has run ads that give customers “the false impression that its flights won’t worsen the climate emergency”, breaching European Union rules, the Amsterdam-based lead campaigner Fossielvrij said in a statement. The lawsuit was filed in a court in the Dutch capital Wednesday morning, according to Fossielvrij. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022/Bloomberg