The 57-year-old executive, who has led a successful push to have Heathrow short-listed for a third runway, will stay through the opening of the airport’s revamped Terminal 2 in June, the London-based company said in a statement today. A search for a successor is underway.
Matthews oversaw the opening of Terminal 5, now among the most popular facilities of its kind after it resolved baggage-system issues that marred its March 2008 opening. Under his leadership, Heathrow has completed the construction of Terminal 2, welcomed athletes during the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and been shortlisted for a third runway.
“The time is right to pass on the baton,” Matthews said in the statement. “Long-term prospects are bright following the decision of the Airports Commission to shortlist our proposal for a new runway.”
Heathrow, the home base of British Airways, is eking out capacity while it fights to add a third landing strip. The airport was listed with London Gatwick as suitable for expansion by the state-backed Davies Commission into runway requirements, which will submit revised plans May 9 ahead of the final recommendations, due to be published after the 2015 general election.
The airport snapped five years of losses in 2013 with a pretax profit of 426 million euros ($588 million). The hub, which is operating at the limits of its two runways, added 2.3 million more customers by luring larger jets such as the Airbus Group NV (AIR) A380 superjumbo.
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