Manchester Airport boss steps down amid weeks of ‘disruption’

Karen Smart

Manchester Airport boss Karen Smart has stepped down from her role as managing director following weeks of travel disruption at the airport.

The news comes after the airport took to Twitter on Monday to apologise to customers for the disruption as passengers waited hours for check in and security with queues trailing into the car park.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports has now conformed that Karen will be leaving business.

Originally from Macclesfield, Karen joined MAG in 2014 and held positions at both East Midlands and London Stansted before moving over to Manchester.

Before this, she was customer services and security director and had spent several years at service provider Serco and had a career in the RAF.

Since joining the Manchester hub, she has navigated the airport through the impacts of Covid-19 and through the recovery.

However, following redundancies during the pandemic and as demand for travel has picked up, the airport has struggled to recruit staff to deal with rising demand.

As a result, this has led to disruption at airport security as well baggage handling.

Manchester Airport has said Karen will be pursuing ‘fresh career opportunities.’

It also announced that Ian Costigan will take on the role of Interim Managing Director.

In statement, the MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Over the last two years, Karen has guided Manchester Airport through the most challenging period of its 84-year history, having made a major contribution to MAG throughout her time with the business.

“I am sorry to lose Karen after her years of valuable service, but also understand her desire to return to the South for family reasons and indeed to explore new career opportunities.

“While there are sure to be further challenges ahead, I am confident we will soon start to see the benefits of the recovery plans Karen has helped put in place and look forward to working with Ian and his leadership team to drive them forward.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...