Caroline Wilkie leaving the Australian Airports Association (AAA) after nine years as chief executive to join the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).
The AAA said in a statement on Wednesday Wilkie’s last day would be on December 13.
“Our airports make such an important contribution to their communities and it has been incredibly rewarding to work with them to support their growth and success,” Wilkie said.
“Our regional airports now have access to sustainable funding, while our major airports are investing in the nation’s growth and delivering a better deal for passengers.
“It’s been a great privilege to work with the AAA team, the board and our members to advance the key issues facing our sector.”
AAA national chairman Guy Thompson thanked Wilkie for her significant contribution to the aviation industry, which he said would leave a “lasting and important impact”.
Thompson noted the AAA’s efforts under Wilkie’s leadership to secure a better deal for regional airports, including $100 million in funding that was announced prior to this year’s budget.
There has also been a deepened engagement with other parts of the aviation industry.
“Behind the scenes, the committees and networking groups established by Caroline have provided new opportunities to identify industry-wide solutions to common challenges,” Thompson said.
“Last year’s creation of the Women in Airports and Young Airport Professionals groups are taking that work further, driving new conversations about supporting diversity at our airports.
“We are a stronger, more connected industry community as a result of Caroline’s efforts.”
The AAA has also been successful during Wilkie’s time as chief executive to push back against calls from airline lobby groups for changes to the regulation of the nation’s airports.
The airlines have proposed reforms that would allow airports and airlines that did not reach agreement on a pricing regime during negotiations to have a decision arbitrated on their behalf.
However, the Productivity Commission’s draft report, which was published in February, described the current regulatory arrangements as fit for purpose and had benefitted the community.
Further, it said the negotiate-arbitrate framework would have few benefits and many risks.
The AAA said its board would now begin the search for a new chief executive.
Meanwhile, the ARA said Wilkie would start her new role as its chief executive in mid-February 2020, replacing Danny Broad, who will become chairman of the association that represented passenger and freight operators, track owners and managers, suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and consultants.