Belfast Telegraph

New man to pilot the regeneration of Belfast International Airport

By Clare Weir

The regeneration of Belfast International Airport is taking off following the announcement of a new face to pilot the facility and a new flight to Katowice in Poland – the ninth new route this year.

Graham Keddie will be taking over as managing director next month, replacing John Doran, who is stepping aside for health reasons.

Mr Doran oversaw a number of key developments for Belfast International Airport, including multiple investments and refurbishments.

He was also at the helm for the sale of the facility to American firm ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide by its former owners Abertis, last October.

Sara Yamotahari, chairperson of Belfast International Airport, said that Mr Keddie's arrival will herald the next phase of growth for the facility.

"I am confident that under Graham, Belfast International Airport will continue to build on its reputation, not just as the most technologically advanced airport in Ireland, but one with considerable scope for future growth and customer service improvements," she said.

She also praised Mr Doran for his work as managing director. "John has demonstrated throughout his time at the airport to be a highly successful, diligent and capable managing director and he has all our best wishes for a speedy recovery."

While there has been disappointment at the announcement earlier this year that American carrier United Airlines will suspend the Belfast to Newark link for the first three months of 2015, this has been tempered by a raft of new flights for the airport.

The latest is a new route from Wizz Air to Katowice in Poland. The news came just weeks after Wizz said that it will start flying from Belfast to Vilnius in Lithuania.

The new route will start on March 31, 2015 and operate twice weekly, on Tuesday and Saturday.

Since January, easyJet has announced a route to Reykjavik, Jet2 has launched flights to Rome, Prague, Las Palmas and Zante, while new seasonal American destinations will be served – Orlando, thanks to Virgin Atlantic, and Las Vegas, which will be operated by Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook will also fly to Orlando.

Graham Keddie comes to Northern Ireland from Hermes Airports, where he was responsible for all commercial revenue at Larnaca and Paphos airports in Cyprus. His 25 years of experience in global aviation also includes as stint as general manager of Abu Dhabi Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Cargo Company, responsible for over 2,500 staff and over £80m in revenue.

He also served as chief executive of Bahrain Airport Services and as chief commercial officer at Virgin Nigeria Airways.

From 2001 to 2005 Mr Keddie was managing director of Manchester Airport Group's Regional Airports division.

Belfast Telegraph