Tom Wilson – Summary Profile
Tom currently provides aviation advisory services to the public and private sectors having returned to this role in July 2014 after a period of 4.5 years managing and divesting of airports as CEO of Infratil Airports Europe (Prestwick and Manston) and latterly as Executive Chairman of Prestwick, a role which Tom undertook whilst transitioning Prestwick into the public sector. Tom’s role as CEO required him to minimise holding costs while the airports were prepared for sale and marketed. Tom worked closely with Infratil’s advisors, PwC, to prepare a data-room and make presentations to prospective interested parties. Meantime, he restructured staffing at both locations resulting in a 15% cost reduction. He also oversaw an increase in both passenger and freight traffic at Manston. Ultimately Manston sold to Ann Gloag (co-founder Stagecoach plc) and Prestwick was acquired by the Scottish Government. Tom was closely involved in both processes including directly interfacing with the respective principals. Tom previously spent some 12 years at Prestwick Airport (1992 – 2004) the last 7 of which as Managing Director; during this period of Tom’s leadership, Prestwick was regularly the fastest growing airport in the UK (and sometimes Europe) with passenger volumes increasing from under 500,000 to over 2,000,000 and freight doubling from 20,000MT to over 40,000MT. Tom authored Prestwick’s submission for the Government’s 2003 White Paper successfully arguing Prestwick’s 2030 forecast up from the initial DfT figures of 2.8m to 6.0m passengers per annum. Tom left his position at Prestwick in 2004 to set up his own business providing advisory and interim management services to the industry and public sector.
Examples of Services
- Fulfilling the role of Geschäftsführer of Lübeck Airport (2007 – 2009), Germany, Tom drove considerable growth taking Lübeck from a loss to profit and doubling passenger numbers. During 2009, the coalition of SPD, Green and Communist parties were returned to power in the Lübeck Parliament and sought to have the airport closed as a consequence of Infratil (the private owner of 90% of the shares) announcing its intention to “put” the airport back to the City of Lübeck. Tom worked directly with the Mayor and a Bürgerentscheid (Citizens’ Referendum) was initiated which supported the continuation of the airport in public ownership. Lübeck Airport is still open today and in new private ownership.
- Performing due diligence work for airport acquisitions.
- Running the tender and subsequent audit of the PSO contract for the Aran Islands air services.
- Reviewing Dundee Airport for Dundee City Council.
- Providing recruitment advice and interviewing for a couple of regional airports.
- The construction and development of 2 airport-connected railway stations.
- Rapid low-cost passenger growth and relationships at CEO level with airlines.
- Tight cost control and close management of airports keeping many traditionally outsourced functions “in-house” to maximise retained value and operational flexibility.
- Developing new passenger facilities and retail outlets.
- Developing large scale MRO facilities resulting in a few hundred jobs.
- Reintroducing a disused runway back into full operations.
- Setting up and running an Air Navigation Services Providers licence.
- Relicensing a civil airport.
- Procuring and introducing a new radar (primary and secondary) system.
Tom was a director of Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry and President (2003 – 2005). Prior to joining the aviation industry in 1992, Tom worked in the electronics and computer industry in Scotland, Europe and the USA in both technical and managerial positions. An honours graduate in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Strathclyde University (Glasgow) and a chartered engineer with European registration, Tom (58) is married with 3 children (who now consider themselves to be grown up) and was born and brought up in Ayrshire, Scotland.