Year 8 students interview Heathrow CEO


By Heathrow

Published 29th March 2019

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Desborough College students, Subomi Afolabi and Felix May, kick off their journalism career with an interview with Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye.

Written by Subomi Afolabi and Felix May – Year 8, Desborough College

On 18 March, the CEO of Heathrow Airport, John Holland-Kaye visited Desborough College along with colleagues from Heathrow and staff from Learning To Work. The purpose of the visit was to give pupils an understanding of the types of jobs available at Heathrow, which is a major employer in the area.

We observed a video which informed us of the advantages and the convenience of the Heathrow Pods – an automated battery-operated transport system to ferry passengers around Heathrow instead of buses. We were then given a tutorial on how to create the Lego pod and programme its movements. We worked in teams of four to construct our pods which later competed on racing tacks constructed out of Lego bricks.

We then interviewed the CEO and uncovered many interesting facts. Here are just a few of them…

Where did Heathrow get its name from?

The name Heathrow originated from an open land surrounded by fields and lush farms. On the open space was a village called Heath-Row. Later on, the village moved their supplies and people to allow the airport to be constructed. The airport called itself Heathrow as a thank you to the village.

What was Mr Holland-Kaye’s favourite subject at school? 

Mr Holland-Kaye also informed us that he studied Economics in school and that it helped him to reach where he is now. It is essential to his current job as it helps him understand the company’s financial state and to run the business successfully.

How did Mr Holland-Kaye become the CEO of Heathrow Airport? 

Mr Holland-Kaye had to sacrifice many things to get to such a high position. First and foremost he had to work extremely hard with a lot of determination and devotion. Even now, John doesn’t have much time to socialize with friends or meet up with family members as much as he would like.

He has had many jobs in the past, his first being a school caretaker. He then moved on to become a Management Consultant for a bar and from there went into the building business. Later he became CEO of Heathrow and told us that this is his favourite job so far.

What kind of jobs are there at Heathrow? 

At Heathrow Airport, there are a total of at least 76,500 jobs including the 400 companies giving assistance such as restaurants and airlines. Approximately every 45 seconds a plane either lands or takes off the runway (4km in length). On this runway every summer, the staff of Heathrow do a charity fun run to see who can run along it the fastest.

The Heathrow Secondary School challenge is an exciting series of events held each year to give local students a chance to try their hand at coding robotic vehicles while learning important STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) for their futures. West London College students took a closer look at the challenge recently and have produced this video explaining more about what it’s about.

Below is a video of Featherstone Primary School taking part in the Heathrow Secondary School Challenge.


By Heathrow

Published 29th March 2019