AIRPORT boss Debra Barber gave Newport businesses food for thought when she was guest speaker at a networking event in the city.

Ms Barber, the chief executive of Cardiff Airport, was speaking at the City of Newport Business Club’s April meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort.

Appointed CEO two years ago, Ms Barber took club members and guests through the changes she had brought in at Wales’ national airport.

These include the key addition of Qatar Airways to the airlines using the airport, with direct flights to Doha opening up more than 150 destinations across six continents to passengers via connecting flights. It is now possible to travel from Cardiff to Australia in less than 24 hours.

While Ms Barber accepted there was still work to do at the airport, including improving transport links to and from the Vale of Glamorgan site, she urged those at the event to consider using Cardiff for their next holiday or business trip.

Ms Barber retired from her role as group captain with the Royal Air Force in 2012 after a successful 28-year career, during which time she headed up the air traffic control operation and was held in high regard as one of the RAF’s notable senior female officers.

She joined Cardiff Airport as operations director in May 2012 before stepping in as interim managing director in September 2014.

Just over a year later, she was made managing director and chief operating officer, becoming the chief executive in February 2017.

Ms Barber is a member of the Board of the Airport Operators’ Association, vice chairman of the Regional and Business Airports Group; councillor of CBI in Wales; a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a member of the Institute of Directors.

The business club’s next meeting will be on May 23 with the guest speaker to be announced shortly.

Tickets for the event are available now on the club’s website –

Tickets are £20 and include a two-course meal. Discounts are available for multiple bookings.

Information about how to become a member or sponsor of the business club are also available on the website.