Leeds Bradford chief hails fresh links with trade

Leeds Bradford airport (LBA) chief executive Vincent Hodder insisted agents will play a key role in the airport’s future as he hailed the impact of a reintroduced travel trade engagement executive.

Nathan Stephenson was appointed as travel trade and community engagement executive last July, marking the first time the position had been held since it was paused during the pandemic in March 2020.

Hodder said: “We recognise the importance of agents to the future success of the airport and that’s why we made the investment to go back to working directly with the trade.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the response we’ve received to the trade appointment and hope travel retailers can see we take on board their feedback.”

Since Stephenson joined, he has typically been on the road four days a week and has visited about 100 agencies.

During his visits, he asks about forward bookings, trends and customers’ views on LBA, as well as agents’ thoughts on potential new destinations. Hodder, who became chief executive in February 2021, said the current financial year had gone “extraordinarily well” for the airport so far, with passenger volumes and profitability both up on 2019.

The airport is currently undergoing a £100 million regeneration involving the extension and refurbishment of its terminal building, with groundwork having begun on January 9.

This will also see the installation of high-tech security scanners, the first two of which went live on February 8.

The new technology will allow customers to leave laptops and liquids in their cabin bags.

Hodder said a date had not been set for the introduction of a second pair of new scanners, blaming the delay on manufacturing issues in the US.

MoreLeeds Bradford trade executive highlights ‘massive’ role of agents

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