EasyJet hires new chief from rival Tui weeks ahead of McCall's exit

An easyjet plane
Low-cost carrier easyJet has hired senior Tui executive Johan Lundgren to lead the airline

Budget airline easyJet has hired senior Tui executive Johan Lundgren to lead the carrier just weeks before outgoing chief Dame Carolyn McCall leaves the company.

Mr Lundgren has worked at tour operator Tui for the past 12 years in various roles including group deputy chief executive officer. He will join easyJet on December 1.

Dame Carolyn, who is returning to her media roots by taking the top spot at ITV, will remain at easyJet until the end of the year as part of an agreed transition period. She announced her departure in July.

The hire comes at an important time for the carrier, which recently applied for an Austrian air operator certificate, a licence which will ensure it can continue flying intra-European routes even in the event of the bleakest Brexit outcome.

Johan Lundgren, the new chief executive of easyJet

EasyJet has also operating within a faltering European airline industry in which three carriers have collapsed this year.

The Luton-based airline gained a dominant position in Berlin after securing a €40m (£35.3m) deal to acquire part of Air Berlin’s operations at the German capital’s Tegel airport. It will lease up to 25 A320 aircraft and the requisite take-off and landing slots from its stricken German rival, which fell into administration in August after its backer Etihad refused to continue to fund its operations having injected €250m just four months before its collapse.

It is also in the running for part of stricken Italian carrier Alitalia, but the outcome of the bidding process is now not expected to become clear until next year.

Chairman John Barton thanked Dame Carolyn for "all she has done" during her near seven-year tenure at the carrier and that Mr Lundgren's "proven experience in European travel" over a 30-year career would be an asset for the company.

Since Dame Carolyn appointment was announced in March 2010, easyJet shares have risen more than 150pc to £12.72.