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BA poaches KLM’s COO de Groot as it cuts ANOTHER 10,300 flights

City AM logo City AM 7/6/2022 Ilaria Grasso Macola

British Airways (BA) has appointed KLM’s Rene de Groot as chief operating officer as the airline was forced to cancel another 10,300 short-haul flights.

“We’re pleased to welcome René de Groot to our senior Management Committee team, who will be joining us as our Chief Operating Officer,” said the airline. 

Stepping down from the same role at the Dutch airline, De Groot will start at BA on 1 October.

BA’s current COO Jason Mahoney will instead become chief technology officer. 

The reshuffling comes on the heels of the UK carrier deciding to split its operations structure into two to provide a better focus on both the technical and operations sides. 

In a letter to staff seen by the PA news agency, chief executive Sean Doyle said the 53-year-old Dutch businessman was “very familiar with the issues that we’ve been grappling with” as he carried KLM during the pandemic. 

“I am confident that Rene will help us to rebuild our airline and become a better BA,” Doyle wrote to employees. 

De Groot’s appointment comes at an extremely delicate time for BA, who has been one of the airlines worst hit by the travel mayhem. 

Just today the carrier announced it was axing an additional 10,300 flights for the period from early August to October, taking advantage of the UK Government’s airport slot “amnesty” period.

The cuts – involving now 13 per cent of flights – will leave long-haul services unaffected.

“While taking further action is not where we wanted to be, it’s the right thing to do for our customers and our colleagues,” said a company spokesperson.

“This new flexibility means that we can further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.”

The airline said it hadn’t underestimated the impact on customers and it was doing “everything we can to get their travel plans back on track.”

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