Craig Kreeger the airline’s CEO, is stepping down into retirement at the end of the year and gave a farewell speech at the U.K. Aviation Club.
He said that he expects to see far more consolidation in the European market, and that the airline had no intention of joining Skyteam in the foreseeable future.
He said that all of the advantages were already included in the existing arrangements with Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s code share airlines. He said until those advantages have gone its not a consideration.
When asked about Flybe he wouldn’t go further than saying they were a valuable partner and that discussions were ongoing.
He was also effusive about the first four A350-900’s joining the airline in 2019, which will have new-look interiors.
Kreeger is an interesting and charming man, a life-long Aviation executive with a genuine enthusiasm for delivering a quality service, while keeping a solid eye on business reality. He worked for American Airlines for many years before moving to Virgin Atlantic.
In many ways his realism – which saw the end of the disastrous Branson inspired Little Red U.K. domestic service that should never have been started, helped bring the airline back to breaking even and making a small profit.
He’s been instrumental in transforming the airlines four engine fleet to twins, and all the four engined aircraft will be gone by 2021.