Ex-British Airways CEO Alex Cruz Expected To Lead Air India

Alex Cruz was passed over to lead airline group IAG in fall 2020 and stepped down as CEO of British Airways. The former head of low cost carrier Vueling is largely credited with cost-cutting at the British flag carrier that led to a deterioration of employee morale, customer satisfaction, and a series of IT meltdowns. How much room he had to do anything else under IAG boss Willie Walsh has always been unclear.

Now it appears he’s on the precipice of being tapped to lead privatized Air India according to Times Of India,

Air India may get Alex Cruz, an aviation veteran with rich experience of heading both full service and low cost airlines, as its CEO.

Tata Group, which has taken over Air India, also controls Vistara and AirAsia India. The corporate structure, and extent to which carriers might merge operations, hasn’t been determined. The new CEO will have a hand in fleet modernization as well as promised improvements in soft product, something Cruz might be expected to take a skeptical eye on. The carrier’s goal of “warmer hospitality from the frontline personnel” might not fare well under his leadership, either, given the hard line he took with BA’s employees and cram down of wages under threat of firing during the pandemic.

There’s no question that Air India will need a tough outsider to reform the carrier, hopefully truly free from government meddling though in India that’s never quite clear ex ante.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. I guess Atilla The Hun was unavailable to take the position.

    Jokes aside, I don’t see someone with Cruz’s history being a good fit for AI, and suspect that there will be some substantial dissent on goals that will cause many a headache for all parties involved.

  2. I met him once, and I have to say he came across as a decent guy…no airs or graces pretty much down to earth.

  3. Well, that’s a career challenge/downgrade.

    Not even GOD could rescue that mess of an airline. I suggest they hire ex Alitalia executives. They at least know how to milk the government nicely for a few extra years of fun.

  4. Fasten your seatbelts, grab your popcorn, and prepare for the [hilariously] bumpy ride ahead.

    Because it all went so well for him the first time running a ‘full service carrier’ (BA) amidst a sea of U/LCCs (FR, U2, LS, DY, EW, V7), which basically mirrors the hot mess dumpster fire that is the present Indian market…

  5. it can be good decision of tata but company must think twice as it is the trust of indian and many of us love to use tata products even only by name. as we know tata means assured quality. thanks for your wonderful post.

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