Peter Bellew, who stepped down as EasyJet’s chief operating officer (COO) this week, has been approached by DAA to return to Ireland to take over crisis-hit Dublin and Cork airport operator, according to the Irish Independent.
He is one of several aviation industry executives tapped to potentially lead the DAA this month.
Mr Bellew resigned from EasyJet earlier this week amid his own post-Covid flying crisis. Last month, EasyJet canceled about 10,000 flights from its summer schedule amid ongoing staffing issues across the aviation ecosystem.
The DAA’s current chief executive officer, Dalton Philips, is expected to leave the position in September, having announced his proposed departure in mid-May. He takes over the management of the listed Irish food group Greencore. Mr Philips was Chief Executive of UK food retail chain Morrisons before joining the DAA in 2017.
That Irish Independent understands a number of other top aviation industry executives from Ireland were also interviewed about the DAA job.
Industry sources say that among those whom DAA Chairman Basil Geoghegan has spoken to so far are a number of high-profile current and former aviation executives and individuals with retail experience.
Mr Bellew resigned from EasyJet after joining the UK low-cost airline from Ryanair in 2019. He joined Ryanair in 2017 as Chief Operations Officer, having previously been Chief Executive of Malaysia Airlines. He had also once worked at Ryanair as a sales and marketing manager and as head of flight operations.
A native of Bettystown in Co Meath, Mr Bellew also formerly worked in managerial positions at Kerry Airport.
Days after Mr Bellew announced he was leaving Ryanair in 2019, EasyJet announced he would be joining Ryanair as Chief Operating Officer. Ryanair promptly sued Mr Bellew, trying to ensure he honored a non-compete clause that prevented him from joining a competitor for a year after his departure.
After a bitter court battle, which included testimony in court by Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary, the High Court ruled that the clause in Mr Bellew’s contract was unenforceable.
The DAA’s top post comes with considerable baggage, particularly in terms of trade union relations and its political dimension.
Mr Philips was dragged before the Oireachtas Transport Committee in May after chaotic scenes at Dublin Airport when hundreds of people missed flights due to a lack of security personnel.
The airport continues to face operational challenges. She was forced to ask the government to put the army on standby for the next six weeks to help with security screening in the event of staff shortages.
Dublin’s scenes have been replicated at airports across Europe and North America as a post-pandemic resurgence in air travel strains underserved gateways. Airports, including Dublin, have cut jobs in the midst of the pandemic but have not been able to scale up in time for a recovery. Airlines have also faced staff shortages and absenteeism due to Covid.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ex-easyjet-boss-peter-bellew-approached-for-daa-top-job-41823425.html Ex-Easyjet boss Peter Bellew applied for DAA top job