Business

Belfast City Airport seeks new boss as Brian Ambrose prepares for departure

Belfast City Airport's outgoing chief executive Brian Ambrose, who will retire in the summer. Picture by Kelvin Boyes
Ryan McAleer

BELFAST City Airport is seeking a new boss after it was confirmed that its long-time chief executive Brian Ambrose will depart the business over the summer.

The final 12 months of Mr Ambrose’s 16-year tenure have proved the most tumultuous, amid the collapse of the airport’s anchor airline Flybe in March 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the pandemic leaving the aviation industry as a whole in a state of crisis, Belfast City Airport’s leadership team have managed to secure replacements for most routes.

The biggest coup came in August, when Aer Lingus and Stobart Air set up a regional hub at the east Belfast airport.

But the resurgence of coronavirus late in 2020 has continued to decimate passenger numbers and turnover at the airport.

Passenger numbers were down 79 per cent at Belfast City Airport in December. Earlier this week Finance Minsiter Conor Murphy confirmed both Belfast City and Belfast International airports would share another financial bailout worth £2.2 million.

Commenting on his 40-year career, Mr Ambrose said he had seen huge changes within the industry, but never more so than within the last year.

“The achievements of these last few months are certainly some of the proudest of my career and Belfast City Airport is now on stable ground with a core network of 17 routes to UK and European destinations served by five partner airlines,” he said.

“I wish to thank our dedicated workforce who have built a best in class product and service and ultimately an airport facility that people enjoy flying from.”

Chairman of Belfast City Airport, Declan Collier described the strategic guidance provided by Brian Ambrose in his role as chief executive as “exceptional”.

“He will leave having ensured the airport is well-placed and ready to meet an increasing demand for travel later this year and into the future,” said Mr Collier.

“On behalf of all my colleagues at Belfast City Airport, we wish Brian a long and happy retirement and extend our thanks for his dedication, commitment and passion that he has brought to the role.”

Belfast City Airport was taken over by two pension funds managed by 3i in 2016. It has now commenced the recruitment process to seek a replacement.

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