Malaysia Airlines is searching for its third CEO in as many years, following the “unexpected” departure of Peter Bellew.

In a statement the carrier said:

“Malaysia Airlines takes note of the unexpected announcement by Ryanair Holdings PLC to the London Stock Exchange regarding CEO Peter Bellew.

“At a press conference with Malaysian and international media on September 27, 2017, Bellew had expressed his commitment to Malaysia Airlines when asked to comment on speculation that he would re-join Ryanair.

“He said that he was happy to be in Malaysia and that the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines would be ‘the greatest achievement of my life’.”

Ryanair has confirmed that Bellew is to rejoin the low-cost airline as chief operations officer from December 1 – he previously worked for the carrier until 2014, most recently as director of flight operations.

Ryanair said that Bellew “will take over responsibility for all Ryanair’s flight operations, ground operations and engineering but with a specific responsibility for pilot production, training and career development with a mission to ensure that the pilot rostering failure which Ryanair suffered in early September will never be repeated”.

MAS said that its turnaround programme “remains on track and on schedule”, and that an announcement regarding Bellew’s successor will be made “in due course”.

Business Traveller published a series of interview articles with Bellew earlier this year, in which he gave his views on the growth of low-cost long haul carriers, and where he believed airlines had “missed the point” of the A380 superjumbo.,