The company in charge of Scotland's lifeline airport services has named its new chief executive more than 10 months after the departure of his predecessor.

Aviation veteran Paul Kelsall will join Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) on May 20. He takes over from interim chief executive Stewart Adams, who has been in the role since last April's departure of long-standing HIAL boss Inglis Lyon amidst boardroom turmoil.

The Herald: Paul KelsallPaul Kelsall (Image: HIAL)

Following a 22 year career in the Royal Navy, Mr Kelsall joined Bond Offshore in 2006 where he undertook a number of senior roles before becoming search and rescue manager in 2013. In 2015 he joined Babcock Offshore as director of service delivery, and was promoted to operations director in 2019.

Most recently, Mr Kelsall was managing director of Offshore Helicopter Services UK Limited, a post he held since February 2021. During that time he led the business through a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) process and subsequent divestment to new ownership.

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“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," Mr Kelsall said. "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.”

Owned by the Scottish Government, HIAL operates 11 airports and provides services across a vast area of land and sea. Its sites cover Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick John O'Groats.

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HIAL chair Lorna Jack thanked Mr Adams for his contribution as interim chief executive while also welcoming Mr Kelsall to the team.

“We are delighted to have secured someone of Paul’s calibre and experience to lead the organisation and deliver our strategic priorities," she said. "I look forward to working with him as an executive member of the HIAL board.”