Aer Lingus has announced that Stephen Kavanagh is to be its new chief executive. 

He has worked at the airline since 1988, most recently as chief strategy and planning officer.

He will take over from Christoph Mueller, who is leaving at the end of the month to become CEO at Malaysia Airlines.

Aer Lingus has given its qualified backing to British Airways owner IAG's €1.36bn takeover approach. 

A formal recommendation is subject to the Government and Ryanair agreeing to sell their respective holdings.

Mr Kavanagh is a graduate of University College Dublin and has had a number of roles in Aer Lingus' operations and commercial departments before being appointed an executive in 2006.

He also worked on the airline's stock market flotation.

He has been chief commercial officer from 2009, where he led improvements in retail and revenue management, partner and network development.

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said: "Stephen has worked in Aer Lingus for over 26 years in a range of increasingly challenging roles and he has a commanding knowledge of both the company and the industry.

"I am particularly pleased that it has been possible and appropriate for an internal Aer Lingus executive to succeed to the position of chief executive.

"Stephen has been a key member of the executive team that, over the last five years, has transformed Aer Lingus into a strong, profitable airline with a resilient business model and an improved cost base."