Sir David Higgins appointed Chairman of Gatwick Airport


Sir David Higgins will become Chairman of Gatwick Airport from 1 January 2017 replacing Sir Roy McNulty, who will remain on the Board as Deputy Chairman.

Sir David is Chairman of HS2 and a Board Member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He was Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority from 2005 - 2011 and Chief Executive of Network Rail from 2011 - 2014.

Sir Roy McNulty said:

I am delighted Sir David has accepted the appointment as the new Chairman of Gatwick. We worked closely together for over five years at the Olympic Delivery Authority. He combines a first class intellect with the ability to give clear strategic direction and make things happen. He is exactly the right person to lead Gatwick through the next chapter in its development.

“Gatwick has made significant progress under new ownership over the last seven years since the break-up of BAA. We have shown beyond doubt that competition works. We have invested over £1.5 billion in new facilities and passenger numbers have grown year on year – from 31.3 million in 2010 to over 42 million in 2016. This has meant more choice, lower fares and improved service for passengers. We have also taken significant steps to ensure we listen more to our local communities and do everything we can for the local and national economy. The Arrivals Review and establishment of the Gatwick Growth Board are both evidence of this approach.   

“Gatwick operates the world’s busiest single runway. We now fly to over 50 long haul destinations and I am proud that Gatwick can now rightly claim to have entered the global airport premier league.”

Sir David Higgins said:

“The progress Gatwick has made over recent years under Sir Roy McNulty’s Chairmanship has been remarkable. It is now firmly established as the UK’s second airport and is a vital part of the London Airports System. Whilst the case for Gatwick expansion in the future remains very strong, the challenge for Gatwick now is to continue to invest so it can maximise the use of its existing facilities and so can do even more for Britain in the coming years.

“I look forward to working closely with Stewart Wingate and the Senior Executive Team. Their impressive track record to date provides a strong foundation for the future. Uniquely, Gatwick caters for all airline types and I am keen to meet as many of the airlines as possible early in the New Year to hear how best we can continue to work together for the benefit of passengers.

“I also recognise the important role that Gatwick plays in the local community. It provides jobs and opportunities for thousands but also, like all airports, it does adversely impact some of its local communities with aircraft noise. This is one of the biggest issues facing aviation around the world and I am keen that the airport builds on the good work it has done over recent years in mitigating these impacts.”


Sir David Higgins has been Executive Chairman of High Speed 2 since March 2014 and has made strong progress in establishing an organisation capable of commencing construction in 2017. As Chief Executive of Network Rail, Sir David initiated a major reform programme focussing on transparency, value for money and accountability.

Sir David also served as Chief Executive of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Delivery Authority, establishing the organisation and negotiating the overall budget with HM Treasury, and led the commercial negotiations for Stratford City, London & Continental Railways, and Westfield. He is a current Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Sir David holds a degree in Engineering from Sydney University and a Diploma from the Securities Institute. He is also a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Civil Engineers.

Sir Roy McNulty joined the Board of Gatwick Airport in April 2011, has had extensive senior-level experience in aviation. From 1988 to 1999, he was Chief Executive, and latterly Chairman, of Short Brothers PLC - the Belfast-based aerospace manufacturing company which has been part of Bombardier Aerospace since 1989. He was Executive Chairman of National Air Traffic Services Ltd. between 1999 and 2001, and Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority from 2001 until 2009.

Sir Roy is currently Chairman of Norbrook Laboratories Ltd and is a Non-Executive Director of Monarch Holdings Ltd. In other previous roles, Sir Roy has been Deputy Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Chairman of Advantage West Midlands, Chair of the Ilex Urban Regeneration Company in Derry/Londonderry and Chairman of the Rail Value for Money Study for the Department for Transport.

About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

Media enquiries to
+ 44 (0) 1293 505000

For further information on Gatwick Airport see or follow us on Twitter at

Media enquiries ONLY

Gatwick Airport Press Office
+44 (0) 1293 50 5000

Main Gatwick switchboard: 

+44 (0) 1293 50 7888