Highlands and Islands Airports appoints new CEO

Paul Kelsall

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) announced the appointment of Paul Kelsall as CEO.

Most recently, Kelsall was MD of Offshore Helicopter Services UK Limited and prior to that was an executive at Babcock Offshore.

Kelsall will join HIAL on May 20, 2024.

A private limited company wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is responsible for the management and operation of the 11 regional airports at Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick John O’Groats.

“Following a successful 22-year career in the Royal Navy, Paul moved into business and commercial operations in the private aviation sector,” said HIAL. “Having joined Bond Offshore in 2006 he undertook a number of senior roles before becoming Search and Rescue Manager in 2013.

“In 2015 he took up the position of Director of Service Delivery with Babcock Offshore, before becoming their Operations Director in 2019.

“Most recently, Paul was Managing Director and Accountable Manager for Offshore Helicopter Services UK Limited, a post he held since February 2021.

“During that time Paul led the business through a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) process and subsequent divestment to new ownership.”

HIAL Board chair Lorna Jack said: “We are delighted to have secured someone of Paul’s calibre and experience to lead the organisation and deliver our strategic priorities. I look forward to working with him as an executive member of the HIAL Board …

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank (interim CEO) Stewart Adams for his significant contribution and work with the senior management team to deliver our strategic priorities against a challenging financial backdrop.

“HIAL is in a strong position to commence delivery of our priorities for the coming financial year.  This is in no small part due to Stewart, and he will leave HIAL on a sound footing for Paul to build on the good work he has started.”

Kelsall said: “I am thrilled to be joining HIAL as CEO and am hugely excited to lead an organisation that has been played a large part in my working career.

“My role in 2006 involved working from Sumburgh Airport and during my flying career I have visited almost all HIAL airports.

“HIAL is renowned for the professional, friendly, and high-quality services it provides, and I have been fortunate to have had first-hand experience of that throughout my career.

“I look forward to working with the HIAL board, the senior management team and the dedicated HIAL team.”