Robert Courts has been appointed as aviation minister, the Department for Transport has confirmed.

He replaces Kelly Tolhurst, who had been in the role since February this year.

A DfT spokesman confirmed the like-for-like change to Travel Weekly, but said he could not comment further on a “political issue”.

Courts, as under secretary of state, will report into transport secretary Grant Shapps. He takes on responsibility for aviation alongside maritime and security and civil contingencies.

A trained barrister, Courts has been MP for Whitney, Oxfordshire, since 2016 – when he replaced former prime minister David Cameron.

He serves on Parliament’s Transport Committee and is a council member of aviation charity the Air League.

Tolhurst, who appeared before the Transport Committee over airline refunds in May, has been redeployed to a ministerial role within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.