Alex cruz is to step down as chief executive at british airways with immediate effect as part of other senior management changes at its parent international airlines group.

Sean doyle, chief executive at the irish airline aer lingus, will become chief executive of ba and will take over as chairman from mr cruz after a transition period, iag said on monday.

Were navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and im confident these internal promotions will ensure iag is well placed to emerge in a strong position, said iag chief executive luis gallego as he announced the changes.

Mr cruz was appointed ba chairman and chief executive in 2016 by willie walsh with the task of making it more cost efficient and to help it compete with budget rivals.

At aer lingus, donal moriarty, currently the airlines chief corporate affairs officer, will become interim chief executive. a permanent appointment will be announced in due course.

The pandemic has hammered the aviation business as travellers avoided flying as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus. as the damage ripples through the industry, the global airlines body iata warned that an urgent rescue plan was needed to stop the uk falling behind international competitors.

Iag said last month it expects capacity to fall 63 per cent in 2020 compared with the previous year, as opposed to the 59 per cent previously forecast. for next year, it is expected to decline 27 per cent compared with 2019, as opposed to the 24 per cent previously expected.