The council-owned, arms-length company that runs Blackpool Airport has strengthened its team with the appointment of three new Independent non-executive board directors for who bring with them a wealth of aviation expertise and knowledge.Joining Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd (BAOL) is Karen Whelan, who has a lifelong interest in aviation which has encompassed a B.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering, 26 years working for BAE Systems’ Air sector business and gaining a private pilot’s licence. Karen will also be also on the BAOL Employment Committee.
Karen brings two decades of experience running all aspects of aviation engineering projects and holds a masters degree in business administration. She is also a trustee of the Association of Project Management, a charity with a Royal Charter.
Matt Williams is a finance director for Northern Rail and leads teams across finance, IT, procurement, legal, internal audit and business insight.
A chartered accountant trained at Deloitte, Matt worked for United Utilities and then later in the nuclear sector. In 2013, Matt joined Manchester Airports Group as Finance Director of Stansted Airport then Manchester Airport before swapping planes for trains in 2020 as he started his current role at Northern.
Joining Gloucestershire Airport in 2018 as commercial financial director, Karen Taylor was appointed managing director of the UK’s busiest general aviation airport in January 2021. She was described by Aviation Business News as “busy and brilliant”.
During her four-year tenure she has remained committed to bringing a modern commercial vision to Gloucestershire Airport.
She started her career in financial services working for companies including Natwest, Swiss Re, Zurich and Capita before diversifying into housing and care, then joining aviation. Outside of work Karen has two children and is a sports enthusiast.
Coun Gillian Campbell, chair of BAOL said, “We are delighted to welcome Matt and both Karen’s to the team. Between them there is a wealth of aviation and business experience that will be invaluable to the airport as we embark on a new chapter to cement its future as a strategic transport hub for the NW and secure its long term, sustainable economic growth.”