BA lures Ansett boss to halt slide

British Airways has poached Ansett Airlines executive chairman Rod Eddington to be its new chief executive.

The airline fired Bob Ayling in March for a series of gaffes, including the unpopular redesign of its tailfins.

Eddington is charged with restoring profitability and staff morale at Europe’s largest airline. BA is expected to post a &£250m loss in the year to the end of March – its first full-year fall since privatisation in 1997.

Last June, Ayling announced BA would return to using the colours of the Union Jack following considerable criticism of a &£60m redesign in 1997 which saw the flag dropped in favour of more ethnic designs.

Ayling was also heavily criticised for his handling of a pay dispute with cabin crew in 1997, which led to a strike and cut the company’s yearly profits by &£125m.

A BA spokesman says Eddington will earn &£500,000 a year salary plus stock options and continue Ayling’s strategy of shifting the airline’s focus to high-margin business customers.

Eddington had worked at Ansett, Australia’s second largest carrier, since 1996.

Before that, he worked at Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways, where spent 18 years ending as managing director.

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