The boss of Gold Coast Airport has announced he will quit the role within months, just as the facility begins its post-COVID recovery.
Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills will step down at the end of June after eight years in the job.
His resignation comes after a torrid time for the aviation sector over the last two years which saw passenger numbers on the Gold Coast drop to record lows thanks to lockdowns and border closures.
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At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, just 1,519 passengers went through the airport, down 99.7 per cent from the year before.
“Being the CEO of QAL has been an absolute privilege. I have certainly experienced the highs and lows of aviation, from record passenger numbers to navigating the pandemic. Now that the aviation recovery is well underway, I am comfortable that this is the right time for me to step down,” Mr Mills said.
“The Gold Coast Airport terminal expansion will open this year, setting the scene for future growth.
“It will be some time before the aviation recovery is complete but our business has endured the worst and is well placed to thrive once again.
“Most importantly, I have absolute confidence in the dedicated and passionate QAL team who will take the business forward. My successor will have a strong platform to build on.”
Queensland Airports Limited Chair John O’Neill has thanked Mr Mills for his service.
“Under Chris’s leadership we saw strong growth in passenger numbers, including connections to new destinations,” Mr O’Neill said.
“We then endured real hardship during the pandemic, and his leadership of the business and engagement with stakeholders through challenging times was exemplary. QAL has a wonderful team culture.
“Chris also led the delivery of a number of important capital projects which have transformed Gold Coast Airport, including the airport hotel and the current terminal expansion project.
“The Board and shareholders are extremely appreciative of Chris’ significant contribution to QAL over many years, and we wish him the best for the future.”
Queensland Airports will now begin an internal and external search for Mr Mills’ replacement.