Airport rail link Heathrow Express (HEx) has made two key senior appointments.

Les Freer (above left), formerly head of ground handling, strategy and licensing at Heathrow, joins as director while Sophie Chapman (above right) becomes head of operations.

The change comes at a significant time for HEx, which saw Great Western Railway (GWR) take over some aspects of HEx’s operations on November 1.

Les brings with him vast experience in transportation having previously held senior roles in the road and maritime sectors.

In his most recent role at Heathrow, Les was responsible for working with ground handlers and suppliers to ensure safe operation of the airfield over a period of passenger and cargo growth for the airport.

Les, who served in the Marines as part of 40 Commando before his career in transport, said: “This is a pivotal time in Heathrow Express’ history and I’m really excited to be leading a team with 20 years’ experience of delivering excellent customer service.

“Its reputation as a flagship service to the airport is unrivalled and we need to maintain that to ensure we beat ambitious passenger targets and exceed already outstanding customer service levels as we deliver a new fleet into service by December 2019.

“Heathrow Express is also a key player to helping Heathrow deliver its commitment for half of passengers to travel to and from the airport by public transport by 2030.”

Les joined HEx on November 1 following the departure of former director Fraser Brown, who moves in the opposite director to join Heathrow Airport as retail director.

Meanwhile Sophie, who has been in her post since September, takes on the role of head of operations. She said she was looking forward to working with operational partners Heathrow, GWR and Network Rail.

Previously she was HEx’s interim head of customer service and prior to that spent 22 years working for Eurostar.


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