THE BOSS of Southampton Airport is to step down after serving almost a decade With the firm.

Neil Garwood, the Managing Director of the city airport has announced he will leave in June after nine years with the organisation.

Daily Echo:

He joined the airport in October 2010 and has held a series of senior roles before being appointed MD in May 2018.

Commenting on his departure, Neil said: “I have had a fantastic nine years at the airport and would like to pay tribute to the wonderful team who have made the airport such a success.

“Whilst the current operating environment is extremely challenging because of both the collapse of Flybe and the coronavirus crisis, we are hugely committed to delivering the connectivity our region needs. This will come about through the delivery of a longer runway.

“We have seen huge progress on the planning application which will enable the airport to offer more routes and choice for passengers, more jobs for local people and, provide a significant boost to the local and regional economy. "We are closer than ever to making that a reality and I will be watching with huge interest to see those plans come to life in the months ahead.”

According to an airport spokesperson, plans for runway extension are still going ahead "one hundred per cent" and are not affected in any way and they are more important than ever.

Taking over from Neil will be Steve Szalay, who is currently Managing Director at Aberdeen Airport, and will move to lead the newly restructured Southampton team as operations director. He will join the Southampton Airport team on the June 1 with Neil’s last day at the airport being June 19.

Daily Echo:

Derek Provan, Chief Executive Officer of the AGS Group, which operates Southampton and its sister airports Glasgow and Aberdeen, added: “Neil is a valued member of the AGS executive team and has led on Southampton’s future development by delivering the airport’s expansion plans to the point we hope to receive approval for our planning application in the coming months.

“These are difficult times for AGS as for all airports, and I am very sorry to be losing Neil, however, I know Steve is relishing the opportunity of leading the team at Southampton as we rebuild the business.”

The Echo attempted to contact Mr Garwood to ask why he is leaving but had not received a response at the time of going to print.