By Cllr Andy Malcolm
Reflections on five and a half years as Chair of London Luton Airport Ltd (Luton Rising)
The time has come for someone else just to steer our airport company forwards. Our new chair Javeria has a great passion for communicating the benefits our airport brings so that every Lutonian can be proud of what we are doing. She will be working with an outstanding team and I am excited to see what will come next.
When I took the chair in October 2015 the first conversation I had with our then chief operations officer was about how we could steer an environmentally responsible course as an airport ownership company. Indeed, this was a replay of the very first conversation I had with this individual four-and-a-half years previously when I was first elected as a councillor.
It’s been a long journey with what sometimes felt like very small and somewhat insignificant steps towards my aspiration for our airport to take our responsibility for our planet seriously.
There have been many many other important aspects to my time as chair, not least developing the DART to provide a seamless connection from train to plane getting people out of their cars and on public transport. I’m also pleased to be moving on at a time when we have plotted a route through and out the other side of the absolutely unprecedented financial challenges that the covid pandemic laid at the door of our airport.
What I am most proud of, indeed the culmination of my time is chair, was the Board’s agreement, and that of our shareholder, that our plans for the future growth of our airport would only be within the parameters for aviation set out by the Committee on Climate Change – the UK government’s independent advisory body on climate change.
I believe this position has integrity. It balances our responsibilities to our airport, our community, and our planet. It recognises the importance of planning for the long-term success of our airport which such fundamental importance to our local economic well-being, with the necessity to take climate change and the impact of aviation on our planet seriously.
No other UK airport has yet taken this approach and we hope that others will follow our lead. We will grow, for the benefit of our local economy and community, but only as and when it is possible to do this within the limits identified by the committee for climate change. This is our vision for our airport, for our community, and for our planet.