Debra Barber has been promoted to chief executive of Welsh government-owned Cardiff airport.

She steps up from the position of managing director as the airport looks to expand.

The airport will also recruit a new executive responsible for development and planning and non-executive director with specialist aviation experience.

The changes come as the airport reported a 10% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in January.

The rolling 12 months have seen an additional 178,000 passengers travelling through Cardiff, representing 15% growth.

This year will see Iberia Express start flights to Madrid plus Blue Islands running a summer service to Guernsey.

Flybe will start serving Rome and Ryanair to Faro from next month.

The airport is also working closely with ‘Team Wales’ to handle football supports attending the UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff in June.

Airport chairman Roger Lewis said: “This appointment recognises the outstanding results Debra has delivered since becoming managing director in 2015.

“We are hugely ambitious for Cardiff airport and we have a significant strategy for growth.

“Over the course of the coming months the board will make further announcements on how we are strengthening our teams to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible airport for our passengers.”

Barber added: “This is a hugely exciting time for our national airport. There have been many positive developments over the last couple of years but, of course, we acknowledge that there is a still a lot to do.

“The business is growing stronger and we are well positioned to deliver on our vision and mission generating significant economic benefit to Wales.

“Our successes to date have been very positive and I’m delighted to continue leading the team into what is proving to be an exciting next chapter.”

Wales government economic and infrastructure secretary Ken Skates said: “The delivery and development of a strategic business plan will build on the airport’s incredibly healthy foundations, an important stage in the progression of one of the fastest growing airports in the UK.”