B’ham Airport brings in Morris for beefed-up PR

Birmingham International Airport (BIA) has appointed John Morris in the newly created role of head of corporate affairs to oversee expansion. As well as managing the airport’s external relations, unlike his predecessor he will also have responsibility for community affairs, strategy and planning.

Morris replaces Brian Conway, who left last April as head of external affairs to join JCB as worldwide comms manager (PRWeek, 30 April). Reporting to BIA managing director Richard Heard, Morris will oversee a team of 21.

With 49 per cent of the airport’s ownership in the hands of seven West Midlands district councils, Morris said the local authorities will figure highly in his strategy.

‘Local authorities are key and a synergy between us is important,’ he said. ‘To ensure revitalisation of the region, I will seek to work with neighbours to show the benefits BIA can bring.’

He added that he wanted to make BIA the city’s ‘showcase to the world’.

He was previously MD of his own corporate affairs consultancy specialising in transport and leisure. Clients included Virgin Trains and National Express.

Heard said Morris will bring a fresh approach to the airport’s corporate affairs agenda and will also oversee development of the airport’s second runway.

‘He has new ideas to develop all aspects of our communications and help us in our aim to be the UK’s best regional airport,’ he said.

BIA is the UK’s second-largest airport outside of London, the third largest for charter flights and fifth largest overall.

During 2003, nine million passengers used the airport, a 13 per cent rise on 2002.

Birmingham-born Morris said: ‘BIA must be part of the greater expansion occurring in the industry. A major international airport is essential if the region is going to compete globally.’

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