Emma Gilthorpe
Emma Gilthorpe
Chief Operating Officer
Heathrow

Emma is Chief Operating Officer of Heathrow Airport, where she has spent the last year grappling the operational impacts of Covid, keeping the airport open and safe for colleagues, passengers and partners at the airport, whilst ensuring Britain’s hub airport maintains vital international connectivity for cargo and trade. Having transformed the operational cost base in response to the pandemic, focus is now turning to how to build back capacity and capability, affordably and sustainably, as the market recovers.

Emma has led a wide variety of teams since joining Heathrow in 2009. She established the Expansion Programme, a £30bn 25-year project to significantly increase airport capacity whilst delivering binding commitments to reduce noise, improve public transport and local air quality, and cut carbon emissions. The Airports National Policy statement received overwhelming cross-party political support and unprecedented buyin from communities, business groups, trades unions and local authorities. Prior to this she headed Strategy, Sustainability and Capital Project delivery teams and, amongst other things, led the strategy underpinning Heathrow 2.0: a plan for sustainable growth, that fundamentally repositioned the airport’s environmental and sustainability ambition.

Before aviation Emma worked in the telecoms sector across a range of strategic, policy and commercial roles, where she campaigned for the break up of BT and the creation of Openreach to drive greater competition and improved consumer outcomes and, whilst at BT, she devised a regulatory and economic strategy to deliver nationwide superfast broadband underpinned by public subsidy.

Emma is the CEO of the Jet Zero Council and a qualified barrister.