Heathrow CEO Holland-Kaye To Step Down In 2023

John Holland-Kaye will stand down this year having led London Heathrow Airport since 2014.

Heathrow Airport said its CEO John Holland-Kaye has informed the board that he plans to stand down in 2023 after nine years at the helm of the London airport.

The board disclosed his departure Feb. 2, adding that it had begun a selection process for his replacement. Holland-Kaye will remain in post until his successor takes over.

Holland-Kaye took over as CEO of Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, in 2014. During his tenure the airport has faced major challenges, such as the controversial process of trying to push forward plans for a third runway, tensions with airlines over airport charges, and then the devastating upheaval and losses of the COVID-19 pandemic. The post-COVID recovery, once it began, was marked by operational disruption and capacity caps linked to staff shortages. Most recently the airport had to contend with Border Force strikes.

Last summer, as pent-up travel demand was released, Heathrow was one of the European airports worst affected by staffing shortages, leading to widespread flight cancellations and disruption. Heathrow had to impose a controversial cap on capacity, which it only lifted at the end of October.

“The board would like to thank John for his exceptional leadership since 2014, building a strong management team, developing a consumer-focused culture, improving cost efficiency and putting Heathrow at the forefront of global aviation’s decarbonization,” Heathrow Airport said in a statement.

The facility is owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd, which is backed by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial and the Qatar Investment Authority.

The airport said in January that it had a busy Christmas and New Year season with more than 5.9 million passengers traveling in the month of December–up 90% year-on-year.

The airport said 92% of passengers passed through security in under 10 min. during the Christmas peak. For 2022 as a whole, Heathrow recorded 61.6 million passengers. That is equivalent to 76% of 2019 levels, and 42.2 million higher than in 2021—the highest passenger increase of any airport in Europe.

This article was originally published on aviationweek.com.