Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye is step down this year after nine years in the role at the London hub.

In a stock market announcement Heathrow Airport says Holland-Kaye has informed the board of his intention to stand down “during 2023” and that it has begun a selection process for his replacement. Holland-Kaye will remain in the post until his successor starts.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow airport

Source: Ed Telling photography

Holland-Kaye took the helm of Heathrow in July 2014

Heathrow Airport chair Lord Paul Deighton says: “John has been an extraordinary leader of Heathrow. During the past nine years, he has worked tirelessly and collaboratively with shareholders, ministers, airlines and other stakeholders to ensure the country can be proud of its ‘front door’.

”The board would like to put on record our gratitude to John for his dedication and commitment to Heathrow throughout his tenure as CEO.”

Holland-Kaye, formerly the airport’s development manager, became chief executive in July 2014. During his tenure, Heathrow airport grew steadily to handle more than 80 million passenger annually in 2019. 

Passenger numbers slumped when the pandemic hit and fell further to 19 million for 2021 amid delays to the re-opening of the key transatlantic market from the UK, while the airport was forced to implement capacity caps last year as it struggled to handle the rapid ramp-up in demand.

Heathrow ultimately handled around three-quarters of pre-pandemic passenger numbers in 2022 – a total of 61.6 million, making it the second busiest airport in Europe last year – and has lifted caps on departing passengers.