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.