Political heavyweight to chair Airlines UK

Former transport secretary Lord Patrick McLoughlin has been named as the new chair of aviation trade body Airlines UK.

He takes up the position on August 1, replacing Jane Middleton on completing her second three-year term.

Lord McLoughlin was MP for Derbyshire Dales between 1986 and 2019. His experience included two years as government chief whip from 2010-2012, four years as transport secretary between 2012 and 2016, and two years as chairman of the Conservative Party and Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster from 2016 to 2018.

He was previously parliamentary under-secretary of state with responsibility for aviation during the Thatcher and Major governments between 1989 and 1992.

Lord McLoughlin took his seat in the House of Lords last September.

He said: “I am delighted to be taking up this role at such a critical time for the industry. Aviation has always been an area of interest for me – even outside my formal duties at the Department for Transport – and I believe strongly that despite the past 16 months the UK airlines’ sector has a strong future ahead of it, if we can work collaboratively with ministers on providing the support – economic and otherwise – that it needs to prepare for the coming challenges.

“We need to realise what we have in this country – the most dynamic, competitive and consumer-friendly aviation sector in the world but this shouldn’t be taken for granted and needs nurturing. There is much that we can achieve if we work together in the spirit of partnership.”

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “We are thrilled that following an extensive recruitment process we have secured the services of Patrick as chairman of Airlines UK.

He brings with him unrivalled experience of government and the political process, and a real passion for and understanding of aviation gained through his period as a minister and secretary of state.

“During these unprecedented times, his knowledge, and the respect in which he is held will stand the association in good stead, as we look to emerge out of the pandemic, and myself and the executive team are looking forward to working with him.”

Middleton added: “It has been an honour to chair Airlines UK for the past six years, during which time the organisation and wider aviation industry has changed almost beyond recognition.

“Working closely with our world-class airlines has allowed me to see up close what a force for good aviation really is and how proud we should be as a country to have such a competitive and thriving industry, be it passenger or cargo, domestic or international.

“Never has the work of an industry body been more important than it is now and I am delighted to pass the baton to Patrick who I know that, along with Tim and the executive team, will continue to take the organisation from strength to strength as we build back stronger, greener and better from the pandemic.”

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