Sion Barry assesses Jon Horne’s performance as chief executive of Cardiff AirportPosted: August 25, 2014
By Sion Barry,
I have heard it said that Jon Horne was far “too nice” and was not a natural leader.
Well he was chief executive when the airport was a listed company (with the intense scrutiny from brokers and institutional investors in the city) under its TBI ownership period when it passenger numbers reached a high point of more than two million.
Being nice and an effective leader are not incompatible and Mr Horne has a proven track-record of success in numerous airport executive roles.
For me he was absolutely the right person when he returned to the airport for his second stint as chief executive last year after the airport was acquired from Spanish owner Abertis by the Welsh Government in a £52m deal.
He leaves the airport on good terms and no doubt with a favourable settlement form its impressive and rightly so challenging board.
I am sure he will resurface again soon in a leading executive role in the aviation sector.
In post for just over a year he can take much credit for arresting passenger decline and starting the process, with only a small improvement to date granted – of taking passenger numbers over the next five years towards three million. The annual passenger number is currently at just over one million.
Having lost Flybe routes under Mr Horne’s leadership the airport was quick to fill the breach by bringing in German-owned airline CityJet earlier this year.
And in a major boost he also brought back Europe’s biggest low cost carrier Ryanair – after an eight year gap – with a new route from this autumn from Cardiff to Tenerife.
He and his executive team have been in continuous talks with Ryanair with the target of the airline adding more routes from Cardiff for its summer season in 2015.
A Middle Eastern route is also a target, but the airport needs to demonstrate that it can provide the required passenger numbers to make any route commercially viable.
I am sure Mr Horne would have successfully taken the airport through its next phase of passenger growth, but that will now be left for his successor – starting with Debra Barber in a managing director interim capacity – to achieve.
Sourced by Wales Online