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Longtime IAG CEO Willie Walsh Retiring, Iberia Chief Named Replacement



International Airlines Group (IAG) announced Thursday that longtime CEO Willie Walsh is retiring.

According to The Associated Press, IAG officials revealed Spanish airline Iberia CEO Luis Gallego would replace Walsh. IAG is the parent company for both Iberia and British Airways.

The changes come as the airline group has continued its international expansion, reaching an agreement to purchase Spanish rival Air Europa for $1.1 billion in September.

IAG launched in 2011 and now serves more than 268 destinations around the world. In total, the airline group’s brands carry around 113 million passengers each year and earned a net profit of $3.2 billion in 2018.

Walsh is leaving after a rough year for British Airways, which experienced a strike by its pilots in September that grounded nearly all of the airline’s flights and impacted thousands of passengers around the world.

Flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports were canceled as a result of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) members taking action following a dispute over pay.

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus



A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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