Birmingham International Airport has welcomed its new chief executive officer Paul Kehoe, who has admitted he has joined at an exciting time.
The airport, which is owned by a partnership of the seven West Midlands metropolitan councils and private investors, is currently trying to get approval for a £120 million extension to the runway that would let direct flights from the airport reach the west coast of the US and east Asia.
It says the move is vital to the region’s economy, and would make the airport more competitive. But anti-expansion campaigners say the move would create more noise and increase the airport’s carbon emissions.
The recent months have also been turbulent ones for the aviation industry, with several names collapsing. Birmingham was hit by the collapse of XL Airways in September, which left hundreds of Midlanders stranded on holidays.
But it also received a boost last week with the announcement of a new long-haul route to Philadelphia opening early next year, run by US Airlines.
Mr Kehoe said: “I have joined the airport at a very exciting time, with the new international pier under construction, an extension to the multi-storey car park under way, and the recent opening of two new hotels.
“Added to that the fantastic news that US Airlines will be joining us next year, and you can see why I am so enthusiastic to lead the airport which not only puts Birmingham on the map as the second city, but also links the Midlands with the rest of the world – showing that it means business.
“My goal and passion is to drive the business forward with the support of my team to uphold our mission to be the best regional airport in Europe.”
Mr Kehoe was previously in charge at Bristol Airport, and before that managing director at London Luton and Belfast International Airports. He surprised many when he was named as the new CEO this summer, with incumbent Joe Kelly the favourite to get the job.
John Hudson, the chairman of the airport, said: “On behalf of the board I welcome Paul to Birmingham. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge behind him that will benefit Birmingham and with the support of the super team that is already here, will ensure that Birmingham goes from strength to strength.
“The board also want to thank Joe Kelly for his commitment, hard work and professionalism over the last 21 months as he kept the business stable following the sudden death of Richard Heard. Joe and the rest of the executive team will continue the work which has seen Birmingham receive worldwide acclaim in recent months.”