21 FEBRUARY 2022


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Article from BTNews 21 FEBRUARY 2022

COMMENT: Job vacancy at the DfT *

John Holland-Kaye withdraws.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has advertised in the normal channels for a Director General for Aviation, Maritime & Security.

The pay is £130,000 per year or thereabouts.  

The position is currently held by Dr Rannia Leontaridi OBE who was assigned interim Director General in January of this year.  Appointed Director for Aviation in January 2020, just before the pandemic took over, she has, according to industry, done a fine job.  

The Department for Transport (DfT) is putting together a panel to make the appointment.  These include: Gareth Davies, Second Permanent Secretary, DfT; Sarah Munby, Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS); James Norton, Human Resources Director, DfT; and Sarah Pittam, a Civil Service Commissioner.

All are Whitehall officials with little knowledge of the practical side of the industry.

Controversially John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, had been asked to join the panel, presumably to represent aviation, but over the weekend withdrew, recognising it was becoming a distraction ..

Over the last two years, above anyone else, Holland-Kaye has proved to be a fine front man for air travel.  How effective his efforts have been are for others to judge.  But with things moving forward is he no longer an unbiased spokesperson?  He does not represent the industry, only his airport.  BTN believes that aviation needs representing.

News had reached BTN that airlines were bombarding DfT officials over the last week to voice their concerns about Holland-Kaye’s place on the panel. An insider noted: “They have certainly made their feelings known”.

Whether the make-up of the panel will be revised we wait to hear.  BTN believes that invitations should be made to the chief executives of Airlines UK, Airport Operators Association (AOA) and British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA).

Holland-Kaye had clashed with airlines over his demand for a 90% increase in landing charges at Heathrow.

The airport continues to campaign against a decision by the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to grant an inflation-busting 37% rise.

A spokesman for the Government said: “This appointment is chaired by a Civil Service commissioner, going through a fair and open process and senior external figures can be involved to offer outside expertise. We will keep the recruitment process under constant review to ensure it is representative of views, including those of airlines”.

Such is the importance of the appointment an intervention by the Secretary of State for Transport is required says BTN.

If you are thinking of applying for the post entries close midnight next Monday (28 February).  You will need the patience of Jove to negotiate all the Civil Service jargon on the paperwork.  And a very good CV.


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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

mike carrivick, United Kingdom

Having been put in an invidious position, John Holland-Kaye has done the right thing by withdrawing.That reflects well of him. He's not the problem but his position is, so anybody in it would have had the same issues to consider.

Barry Humphreys, United Kingdom

The DfT has appointed an outsider to this post in the past. It wasn't a great success.

William Bones, Hounslow

John Holland-Kaye has done the right thing and not accepted the panel position. But the editor is right. Airlines and airports should be represented, and light aviation too.