Council Recruiting Airport Manager

St Mary's Airport

The Council is trying to reduce losses at St Mary’s airport by recruiting a manager, who will be required to boost income and identify new commercial opportunities.

Last week, three applicants were interviewed for the new role. During the two-day recruitment process, the applicants met with airport staff, viewed the facilities and dined with some of the Councillors at Tregarthen’s Hotel.

General Purposes Committee Chairman, Fred Ticehurst, says the role will differ from the Airport management position held by Allen Hicks. Fred says the appointment of a Senior Air Traffic Controller and a Senior Airside Operations Manager means the new recruit can focus on making the airport services viable and sustainable.

Last month Councillors discussed how falling visitor numbers and a decision not to increase landing charges will mean that the airport cash reserves will be empty by 2014. As the airport is a separate trading account, the Council tax payer can’t bail it out.

Councillor Ticehurst says work will need to be done in boosting passenger numbers as the school building project inflated usage last year. He added that this year’s passenger numbers, “don’t look good.”

Fred says there’s a great deal of uncertainty over the future of the helicopter service as communication with British International Helicopters has been patchy and this new position may involve attracting additional operators in the future.

But Fred says the postholder will have to be ‘radical’ with ideas. He feels that charging for car parking, which was suggested last Autumn, won’t be generate much money and developing retail options at the airport could be to the detriment of town traders.

The Town Hall press officer says the recruitment process is ongoing and he doesn’t know when and if one of the three candidates will be appointed to the £43,000 a year role.


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