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Former Manchester Airports Group boss Geoff Muirhead (pictured) has stepped down from the Airports Commission over a “potential conflict of interest” due to MAG’s purchase of Stansted.
Muirhead’s resignation from the commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, was announced by the Department for Transport today (September 20). Muirhead had been chief executive of MAG for nine years until his retirement in 2010 and was one of Davies’ five commissioners.
The DFT said: “Muirhead was appointed to the Airports Commission in October 2012, at which point Manchester Airports Group did not own Stansted airport.
“MAG has since purchased Stansted and following its submission to the Airports Commission concerning options for the expansion of Stansted airport, questions have been raised about the appearance of a potential conflict of interest.
“Although there is no evidence whatsoever of bias towards the MAG submission concerning Stansted, we have agreed that the prudent course is for him not to continue as a commissioner to avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest.”
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion had been calling for Muirhead to step down from the commission, which is considering how to increase hub airport capacity in the UK, due to his links to MAG.
The DFT added that there was “no implication against Muirhead’s integrity, which is emphasised by the importance he has placed on maintaining public confidence in the work of the Airports Commission”.
Click here for more information on the work of the Airports Commission