Lynne Embleton to become CEO of Air Lingus

Interim role-filler Donal Moriarty to be succeeded by former chief of IAG

International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Lynne Embleton will take the helm at Aer Lingus next month.

IAG, the Irish carrier's owner, said on Thursday that Ms Embleton, will take over as chief executive of Aer Lingus on April 6th.

She succeeds Donal Moriarty, who has been interim chief executive since his predecessor, Seán Doyle, left to take the top job at British Airways, also part of IAG, in October last year.

Ms Embleton has been chief executive and chairwoman of IAG Cargo since 2017. Before that she held several senior roles with British Airways


They included managing director at Gatwick Airport, and director of strategy and chairwoman of the airline’s commuter outfit, BA Cityflyer. Ms Embleton joined the British carrier in 1992.

Challenging year

Mr Moriarty will resume his original role as Aer Lingus's head of corporate affairs. IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said he had done "an excellent job" during Aer Lingus's most challenging year.

Alongside the Irish and British airlines, IAG owns Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling, making it one of European air travel's biggest players.

It announced Ms Embleton’s appointment as it prepared to publish results for 2020 on Friday.

The figures will show the full impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its operations last year, including those of Aer Lingus, one of several carriers that bore the brunt of the Republic’s travel curbs, which were among Europe’s toughest.

US plans

The announcement may also shed further light on Aer Lingus’s plans to begin flying to New York and other US destinations from Manchester Airport this year.

The Irish carrier has applied to the US department of transportation to allow it do this.

Mr Gallego noted that Ms Embleton had huge experience within IAG. “At IAG Cargo she has led the company as it adapted rapidly to the Covid-19 pandemic and has made significant progress in digitally transforming the business,” he said.

“I’m confident that she has the skills to lead Aer Lingus through the pandemic and enable it to emerge in a strong competitive position in the future.”

Before Covid-19 restrictions shut air travel across Europe and the US last year, Aer Lingus was planning to launch several new services to North America.

The airline saw the transatlantic business as a quick route to growth, and began expanding its North American flights from early in the last decade.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas