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Further departures at Flybe, with former executive taking new airport role

By WMNCBarnes  |  Posted: January 20, 2014

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Two senior managers are departing Exeter-based Flybe, with its former head of commercial planning taking up a new role with the owner operator of the city’s airport.

Steve Lilley has been appointed aviation development director of airport management company Regional and City Airports Management (RCAM).

Acquired by the Coventry based Rigby Group in June last year, RCAM manages the airports owned by sister company Patriot Aerospace, at Exeter, Derry, Blackpool and Coventry.

Meanwhile, Flybe’s director of marketing and ancillary revenues, Simon Lilley, has also announced his departure after 14 years with the airline.

Flybe’s chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said: “Simon has been discussing his future plans and aspirations with us over recent weeks and feels it is now the right time to move on.

“Simon not only launched the Flybe brand in 2001, but has since been instrumental in building Flybe’s emergence as a major player in the UK aviation sector.”

Mr Simmons, who joined as Flybe’s chief commercial officer in October, thanked Mr Lilley for his contribution to the business, crediting his role in shaping a “new look” Flybe that will start to emerge this year.

A spokesperson for the airline added: "Flybe has no named successor yet for the role, but does currently have a consultant who is helping in the interim."

Meanwhile, in his new role, Steve Lilley will be based at Exeter Airport, spearheading a drive to expand routes and develop more services to and from the airports operated by RCAM.

RCAM's managing director, John Spooner said: “We are delighted that Steve has decided to join us in a role that will focus on one of the most important priorities for the group.

“He has a wealth of experience in successful route development and commercial planning for airlines.”

Mr Lilley said: “It is an exciting time to be in aviation and I am very pleased that the UK's leading operator of regional airports has asked me to join the group.”

A multi-million restructuring has been under way at Flybe, since it announced forecast losses a year ago.

EasyJet’s former chief commercial officer Saad Hammad was announced as Flybe chief executive in July, taking over the role from Jim French.

In August, Mike Rutter, managing director of Flybe Outsourcing Solutions, Andrew Strong, managing director of Flybe UK, and Mark Chown, director of corporate strategy, all stepped down from the board.

Mr French stood down from his role of Flybe chairman in November and has this month sold a total of 1.7 million shares in the airline, in two separate tranches. His holding now stands at 2,016,250 or 2.68% of the company. Simon Laffin was appointed Flybe chairman in his place.

Despite announcing a profit of £13.8 million for the first half of Flybe’s current financial year, Saad Hammad announced further cuts in November, saying its turnaround plan did not go far enough to cut costs.

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