Romania’s transport ministry says the chief executive officer of the country’s struggling national air carrier, Tarom, has resigned.
George Barbu, CEO since October 2019, handed in his resignation on Tuesday during a meeting of the Administration Council.
The board named Mihaita Ursu as acting CEO for four months. Ursu is a member of Tarom’s Administration Council.
Transport Minister Lucian Bode said he had confidence in Ursu, adding the company needed a thorough overhaul in order to keep operating.
Bode said Ursu was well acquainted with Tarom’s problems, which include nepotism in the hiring process and an ageing fleet.
Some 800 of the company’s 1,700 staff have been furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic which hit airlines all around the world.
In February, the European Commission approved Romania’s plans to grant a temporary loan of about 36.7 million euros to Tarom.
The money is to ensure the orderly continuation of air transport services, in particular on routes where Tarom is the only provider, to avoid disruptions for passengers, without unduly distorting competition in the single market.
In February 2020, Romania notified the Commission of its intention to grant a rescue loan. The airline faces an acute liquidity shortage, due to a hefty increase in operating costs of its ageing fleet.
Without the aid, the company said it would be unable to cover running costs and keep its operations running.