New boss outlines ambitious plans to eradicate waits

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THE new boss of Edinburgh Airport says he aims to eradicate the queues faced by frustrated passengers.

Gordon Dewar, a former managing director of the airport, has been appointed chief executive officer of the airport following the £807.2 million deal which saw Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) become the new owner.

And Mr Dewar, currently CEO of Bahrain international airport, said he hoped to make Edinburgh one of the top airports in Europe.

He will rejoin Edinburgh airport in the summer, with the current managing director Jim O’Sullivan continuing in his role until then.

His first task will be to drive improvements at the airport, and he has ambitious plans to cut long waits for travellers.

“No queues is the ultimate aim, but we want to ensure that we have a process that feels reliable, slick, warm, friendly and engaging so people coming through airport think it’s a good experience and would want to do it again,” he said.

It is understood Mr Dewar plans to look at better use of check-in desks and creating more space for security in a bid to cut down on waiting times.

“It means no queues, not just short queues but no queues,” he said.

The new boss will also have to deal with Ryanair, which has threatened to withdraw several routes from the Capital unless their terms at the airport are improved.

“One of the things we will be focusing on early is opening discussions with airlines,” he said. “Ryanair is one. Their deal, which is coming to a close, worked really well for them and we believe that by having a conversation with Ryanair there’s lots of space for a win-win situation in Edinburgh.

“Ryanair are a hugely important airline customer and I obviously dealt with them when I was here last. They are a very challenging customer and I have no problem with that. I’m sure when we sit with Michael Collier and Michael O’Leary we’ll be able to find a way through.”

Asked about the new owners, Mr Dewar, who was managing director of the airport under previous owner BAA, said he felt they would be more focused on the Capital.

“GIP bring an independence – they effectively set up a board that’s in Edinburgh and only have to deal with Edinburgh airport so they are not looking at trade-offs between six other airports,” he said.

“With the best will in the world BAA were probably not particularly focused on Edinburgh given the size of the group they were trying to operate.”

Mr Dewar is perhaps best remembered as the man who introduced the controversial “kiss and fly” tax.

And he said he had no plans to scrap the £1 drop off charge.

“What we are going to do is focus on the customer service improvements we can deliver and get on with that,” he said.