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International Airlines Group has announced that Aer Lingus chief executive, Stephen Kavanagh, will step down on January 1st, but will remain on the airlines board as a non-executive director.

He will be succeeded as chief executive and executive director by Sean Doyle who is currently British Airways director of network, fleet and alliances.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive and Aer Lingus chairman, said: “Stephen has been an exceptional chief executive and has transformed and modernised Aer Lingus.

“After a 30-year career, he has decided to step down.

“We wish him all the very best for the future and heartfelt thanks for all his outstanding achievements.

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“Were delighted that Stephen will remain on Aer Lingus board and provide advice and guidance to the airline.”

Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, founded in 1936.

It operates 65 aircraft on over 100 routes, flying 17 direct routes from North America to Ireland and onwards to destinations in the UK and Europe.

Kavanagh said: “After a 30-year career in Aer Lingus with the last four years as chief executive, Ive taken the decision to step down to pursue other interests.

“By any objective measure Aer Lingus has been successful in recent years and continues to have significant opportunity to build upon the strong fundamentals of our value model.

“Id like to thank all those who have provided support and guidance during my time in Aer Lingus.

“I look forward to working with Sean as he transitions into his new role and wish him and all my colleagues continued success.”

Sean Doyle, originally from Cork, will take up his new role in January.

He joined British Airways in 2003 and has undertaken financial, strategy, commercial and alliance roles for British Airways culminating in his appointment to the airlines executive management committee in 2016.

Walsh added. “Sean has successfully held a variety of roles within British Airways, acquiring significant expertise and experience, which makes him ideally suited to lead Aer Lingus.

“I am pleased that Aer Lingus chief operating officer, Mike Rutter, has extended his contract and will work with Sean to ensure that the airline continues to deliver its strong performance.”

The airline carries more than 12 million guests per annum.

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