HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins spreads his wings to take chairman role at Gatwick

Rebecca Smith
Higgins was knighted in 2011 for services to regeneration
Higgins was knighted in 2011 for services to regeneration (Source: Getty)

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins is picking up another role in the New Year.

He's taking over as chairman at Gatwick Airport, replacing incumbent chairman Sir Roy McNulty from 1 January 2017. McNulty will stay on as deputy chairman.

Higgins said: "Whilst the case for Gatwick expansion in the future remains very strong, the challenge for Gatwick now is to continue to invest so it can maximise the use of its existing facilities and so can do even more for Britain in the coming years."

Read more: Gatwick just had another record month with long-haul growth up a fifth

Higgins has been executive chairman of High Speed 2 since March 2014, and prior to that was chief executive of Network Rail. He also spends time in Australia as a director of the Commonwealth Bank.

It is understood that he will stay on at the £55bn rail project until a replacement is found. HS2's chief executive Simon Kirby announced he was leaving in September, to become chief operating officer at Rolls-Royce.

The hefty rail project is meant to lessen the capacity troubles on the nation's railways, which are struggling to cope with the numbers of passengers.

Read more: Mapped: This is the route HS2 will take north of Birmingham

Gatwick is the second largest airport and operates the world's busiest single runway. It lost out to Heathrow in October when transport secretary Chris Grayling gave the latter the go-ahead for airport expansion.

Since then, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has said he will continue to try and convince the government Gatwick too should get the green light.

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