Yesterday, (9 May), the members of the general meeting of Liege Airport SA appointed Madame Marie-Dominique Simonet as President of the company. She is the first female to head the Board of Directors. Her predecessor José Happart takes on the role as Senior Vice-President.
Madame Simonet has achieved a steep career in the Humanist Democratic Centre, a Christian democratic francophone political party in Belgium, where she served in different functions in the Walloon
Longstandig career as politician
The 1959-born Liege resident served as Vice-President of the Government of the French-speaking Community and Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and International Relations. She has also been Minister for Research, new Technologies and External Relations of the Walloon Government.
In July 2009, she was appointed Minister for Compulsory Education and Social Welfare of the French-speaking Community. On 16 July 2013, she resigned her ministerial duties for health reasons. On 25 May 2014, she was elected as a Walloon Deputy and is the Vice-President of the Economic Commission of the Walloon Parliament.
After being appointed she stated: “I am very pleased and very proud to take on the Presidency of Liege Airport.” Referring to the airport she spoke of a “success story” which has brought Liege and the Belgian Walloon region to the international scene.
Challenges to be mastered
Looking ahead, she pointed at some significant challenges that need to be solved, namely airport security, relationships with the federal Belgian and local Walloon authorities (Belgocontrol, air traffic rights, etc.), the takeover of TNT by FedEx and the consequences resulting from this step, as well as the commercialization of the economic activity zones surrounding the airport. “Together with the entire board of directors, these are challenges I am preparing to take on,” she declared.
The Walloon Government and some private investors own Liege Airport. With an annual turnover (2015) of 649,829 tons, it is the eighth largest cargo airport in Europe.