Press release

Airports Commission membership

A panel of 6 experts will take forward vital work to examine how the UK’s status as a leading global aviation hub can be maintained.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A panel of 6 experts will take forward vital work to examine how the UK’s status as a leading global aviation hub can be maintained, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (2 November 2012).

The Secretary of State announced on 7 September that the Airports Commission would be chaired by Sir Howard Davies. Today (2 November 2012) the terms of reference for the Commission were announced alongside the appointment of the group of leading academics and aviation experts who will help Sir Howard.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

Aviation is vital to the UK economy and we need to have a long term aviation policy which meets the challenges of the future. Sir Howard and his team will now take forward this vitally important work for the government and bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the debate.

Sir Howard Davies, Airports Commission chairman, said:

I am announcing a team with the range of skills and experience required to drive forward the important work the Commission is undertaking.

With open minds, we will take time to explore the evidence, consider the options and aim to develop a lasting solution to the nation’s aviation needs. Our ambition is to do a thorough piece of work that will ensure aviation continues to support this country’s economic, social and environmental ambitions.

The experience of recent years shows we need a robust evidence base which has the support of a broad consensus of opinion. We aim to put the next government into a position in which rapid and implementable decisions can be soundly made.

The Commissioners who will support Sir Howard Davies are:

Sir John Armitt CBE, the former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former Chief Executive of Network Rail.

Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and director of the LSE Cities research centre.

Vivienne Cox, the former CEO and Executive Vice President of BP Alternative Energy and a former member of the BP Executive Management Team.

Professor Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University and a member of the Committee on Climate Change, with a background in the aerospace industry.

Geoff Muirhead CBE, the former CEO of the Manchester Airport Group.

Notes to editors

Commission’s terms of reference

The Commission’s terms of reference are:

The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.

It should maintain a UK-wide perspective, taking appropriate account of the national, regional and local implications of any proposals.

It should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public, providing opportunities to submit evidence and proposals and to set out views relevant to its work.

It should seek to engage with a range of stakeholders, including with local and devolved government as well as the opposition, to build consensus in support of its approach and recommendations.

The Commission should report no later than the end of 2013 on:

  • its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status
  • its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next 5 years – consistent with credible long term options

The assessments and recommendations in the Commission’s interim report should be underpinned by a detailed review of the evidence in relation to the current position in the UK with regard to aviation demand and connectivity, forecasts for how these are likely to develop, and the expected future pattern of the UK’s requirements for international and domestic connectivity.

Its assessments of potential immediate actions should take into account their economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, and their operational deliverability. It should also be informed by an initial high-level assessment of the credible long-term options which merit further detailed development.

The Commission should report no later than summer 2015 on:

  • its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact
  • its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs
  • its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale

The Commission should base the recommendations in its final report on a detailed consideration of the case for each of the credible options. This should include the development or examination of detailed business cases and environmental assessments for each option, as well as consideration of their operational, commercial and technical viability.

As part of its final report in summer 2015, it should also provide materials, based on this detailed analysis, which will support the government in preparing a national policy statement to accelerate the resolution of any future planning applications for major airports infrastructure.

A short biography of each of the members

Sir John Armitt CBE: John Armitt was appointed Chairman of the Olympic delivery Authority on 1 September 2007. He joined John Laing as a civil engineer in 1966, and was Chairman of Laings International and Civil Engineering Divisions from 1987-1993. In 1993 he was appointed Chief Executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for developing the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link. In 1997 he was appointed Chief Executive of Costain and in 2001 Chief Executive of Railtrack plc, a year later he was made Chief Executive of Network Rail a position he held until 2007. John is currently Chairman of City and Guilds (appointed on 25 October 2012), Deputy Chairman of Berkeley Group plc and a non-executive Director of Transport for London.

Professor Ricky Burdett: Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme. His research interests focus on the interactions between the physical and social worlds in the contemporary city and how urbanisation affects social and environmental sustainability. He was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006.

Vivienne Cox: Vivienne Cox is a non-executive Director of Rio Tinto plc, BG Group, Pearson plc and Vallourec SA. She is the Lead Independent Director on the Board of DFiD. She is also on the Board of INSEAD and an adjunct Professor at Imperial College. In 2009 she retired from BP after spending 28 years in the company. Her last full time role was as the Executive Vice President of the Gas, Power and Renewables business. She was a member of the Executive Committee.

Professor Dame Julia King: After 16 years as an academic researcher and lecturer at Cambridge and Nottingham universities, Julia King held a number of senior business and engineering posts at Rolls-Royce plc, in both the aerospace and marine businesses, between 1994 and 2002. Following 2 years as Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, Julia returned to academia as Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College, London, before becoming Vice-Chancellor of Aston University in December 2006. Julia advises Government on a range of education and technology issues and is a member of the Committee on Climate Change.

Geoff Muirhead CBE: Geoff Muirhead is a qualified civil and structural engineer who spent 22 years in the construction industry prior to joining Manchester Airport in 1988 as their Director of Development and Planning leading the delivery of Terminal 2. Geoff was subsequently promoted to Business Development Director in 1992 and to Chief Executive in 1994, during which time he led the business through the acquisition of Humberside, East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports. Geoff was also responsible for leading the planning and delivery of Manchester Airport’s second runway – the only full length runway constructed in the UK since the Second World War. Geoff retired from the role in October 2010.

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Published 2 November 2012
Last updated 2 November 2012 + show all updates
  1. First published.