London Southend Airport hires new CEO and sees campaign to support airlines gather pace

Date: 04-08-2022

London Southend Airport hires new CEO and sees campaign to support airlines gather pace

London Southend Airport announces the appointment of John Upton as its new CEO, effective September 2022.


John brings an impressive track record of growing consumer-facing businesses, delivering exceptional customer service and driving growth. Most recently,  as CEO of No1 Lounges, John led the £40m international airport lounge business (backed by NVM and Santander). As CEO he put in place an operational structure that enabled the business to double in size, opening new sites across the world, as well as securing new deals with airlines and airports.  Prior to No1 Lounges, John worked as Managing Director of Leon, the fast growing naturally fast food chain, and was a member of the senior team during 13 years at McDonald’s UK.


John Upton said, “I’m thrilled to be joining London Southend Airport and to have the opportunity to work alongside such a fantastic team.  Their relentless focus on our customers, our airline relationships and working as true partners with our local stakeholders and suppliers is remarkable and really sets us apart from our competitors. There’s still so much more to come from London Southend Airport and, powered by our people, I firmly believe that the future will be even brighter.”


Lewis Girdwood, Executive Director – Aviation commented, “We are delighted to welcome John. He is a highly experienced and entrepreneurial operator with over 25 years’ commercial and operational experience. That experience comes from a variety of senior leadership roles in household name businesses across the consumer, retail and leisure sectors. We expect John will help us to make advances in our already award-winning passenger experience, leverage his relationships and experience to help drive new partnerships and bring fresh ideas to support our ongoing community engagement projects.”


John Upton will replace Glyn Jones, who has served as the airport’s CEO for seven years, overseeing a period of immense change. Glyn was instrumental in developing the airport’s attractive proposition for customers and airlines alike, positioning the airport as London’s fastest growing airport prior to the pandemic, serving over 40 destinations operated by easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air, amongst others. Glyn has also led the start of the airport’s recovery which reopened to commercial passengers this summer, putting in place a new airport board, and creating new opportunities for the airport by hosting the inaugural Southend City Festival on 2-4 September 2022.


Glyn Jones said, “It has been my privilege to be associated with London Southend for so many years. I will be leaving it in very capable hands and am confident that it will fulfil its huge potential in the years to come. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the incredible airport staff, the Esken team, and to our supporters in the wider community. London Southend is an airport of significant importance to London and the surrounding area, and I look forward to watching it and the communities it serves move forward into an ever more successful future.”


Glyn Jones will stay on for a short period of time to ensure a smooth transition.


London Southend Airport campaign to support airlines gathers pace


London Southend Airport welcomed a Blue Air flight to Bucharest on Tuesday 2 August as its campaign to support airlines continues to gather pace.


The Blue Air flight is the second of its kind in the space of a week, and London Southend Airport also welcomed flights from Sky Express to Athens and Wideroe to Bergen in late July.


London Southend Airport has been working with airlines that are currently struggling to add additional flights at established London airports. Unlike those established London airports, London Southend Airport has available slots and the capacity to welcome additional flights.


Nigel Mayes, Business Development Director at London Southend Airport said, “We are in the fortunate position to be able to offer airlines capacity to meet passenger demand at a time of significant stress at other London airports. We have been delighted with the response from airlines and have had an increasing number of enquires for both this Summer and next. They are attracted by our ability to offer peak time slots, frequent trains from London Liverpool Street and Stratford,  and our quick and easy passenger experience.”


Krassimir Tanev, Chief Commercial Officer at Blue Air, stated that “We are delighted to add additional capacity to London during the peak holiday season by operating from London Southend Airport.  Although we are only operating some ad hoc flights at the current time, we have been impressed by the swift response from the airport’s management team to cater for our flights at very short notice.”



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