British Airways CEO’s Boss Publicly Blames Him for Failing to Get a Pilot Deal Done

Willie Walsh, the former CEO of British Airways and now head of IAG, parent company of BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, has gone public that he’d do a better job than current BA CEO Alex Cruz at resolving the airline’s contract dispute with pilots.

Speaking with the media yesterday, Walsh said there was a “deal to be done” and that it was “frustrating for me at times” not to be able to get involved in the talks.

…[He’s] encouraging the British Airways “management team to get involved” and claiming there had been “failings on both sides” in negotiations to date.

“I probably understand their (the pilots) issues better because I used to be a pilot,” explained Walsh. “If I were there (at British Airways) I would probably want to address those.”

Of course Walsh, the former Aer Lingus pilot, axed pilot jobs as head of Aer Lingus and – rather than working in a conciliatory fashion with labor – moved to break the flight attendants union at British Airways in the late aughts, adding B-scale “Mixed Fleet” crews to the airline.

And public efforts to throw his handpicked British Airways CEO over the side and lay blame at his feet for the failure to get a deal done aside Alex Cruz doesn’t even outsource a single IT job without Willie Walsh blessing it first.

This strikes me as an effort at blame deflection, but will only fuel rumors about Cruz’s impending demise, which in the past months I had chalked up merely to wishful thinking on the part of bitter airline staff. The ex-Vueling CEO, for all of his moves to destroy the last vestiges of British Airways as a premium airline, was only following orders coming down from above at Waterside.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Willie Walsh always struck me as an unpalatable leader whose word was worthless, as he never kept his side of a deal. Now he goes on a pathetic Trumpian rant saying he’d do better than the person he himself personally selected, even though his own track record proves how dismally he handled employee relations during his tenure. Oh, and it’s not like he’s an outsider, he’s at the helm of BA’s parent company, surely he could get a deal done if he knew how.

  2. British airways is most bogus airline in the world. Please do not fly with this airline so that it closes fast

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