The former Aer Lingus boss, Willie Walsh, has been named as the new Chief Executive of British Airways.

Mr Walsh left the top job at Aer Lingus earlier this year and will join Europe's second largest airline as Chief Executive designate on 3 May.

He will replace the current Chief Executive of the British airline, Rod Eddington, when he retires at the end of September.

This morning's announcement confirms Mr Walsh's credentials in the top ranks of international aviation.

The 43-year-old announced his resignation from Aer Lingus last November after withdrawing plans for a management buyout earlier in the year.

He left the company in January amid speculation of his frustration at the failure of the Government to make a decision on the future financing and ownership structure at the airline.

He is credited with turning Aer Lingus around from near collapse after the 11 September terrorist attacks to a company returning profits this year of over €100 million through a programme of low fares, cost-cutting and reducing over half the workforce.

British Airways too has been through a drastic survival plan - slashing 13,000 jobs over the last three years.

The Chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, said he was completely confident that Mr Walsh was the best person for the job.

Mr Walsh said this was an outstanding opportunity to be at the helm of what many people see as the best airline in the world.