Former tourism chief takes helm at airport operator

A new chairman has been appointed to lead Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.

Mike Cantlay, who held the same position at VisitScotland, took over on Tuesday saying he hoped to build on the “strong foundations” at the network of airports.

His appointment with Hial will be for three years with the part-time position of six days a month being paid £22,320 a year.

Dr Cantlay described it as “an absolute privilege to join the fabulous staff at Hial”, serving the communities that depended on the organisation’s 11 airports including Sumburgh Airport.

He said: “Air links are vital to our future prosperity and I look forward to starting this new role and building on the strong foundations that are already in place.”

Dr Cantlay served on the VisitScotland board from 1997 until 2005, subsequently becoming chairman in 2010 and leading the organisation through events like the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games, with a budget of about £50 million per year.

Tuesday’s announcement was made by Scottish rural affairs minister Fergus Ewing, who said Dr Cantlay had a wealth of experience.

Mr Ewing said: “I have no doubt that both his knowledge and expertise of the tourism industry from his time with VisitScotland and his commercial experience from his long and successful business career will prove invaluable assets.

“I look forward to working with Dr Cantlay and wish him every success in his new post.”

In 2014 Dr Cantlay received an OBE for services to tourism.


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