Cabin Pressure

Despite turbulence, CEO Willie Walsh is turning British Airways around. But bigger challenges loom

Daniel Berehulak / Getty

A British Airways plane sits on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport.

No one could accuse Willie Walsh of being downbeat in the face of adversity. "Being the ceo is great," says the boss of British Airways with a chuckle. "You get all the credit. And you get to blame other people when things go wrong." He's joking. He has to be, for if he lived by this credo, he would have been pointing his finger nonstop in recent months.

A squabble with cabin-crew employees in January over pay and working conditions triggered flight cancellations that set BA back $150 million. In July a report by the Association of European Airlines put the...

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