© Khunaspix Dreamstime.

Stalwart of the air freight industry, ‘BJ’ John Batten, is to become managing director of Coyne Airways .

Mr Batten, who announced last month that he was to leave Swissport, where he has headed the cargo division for the past five years, is to manage the all-cargo carrier from Dubai when he starts in September.

“It’s exciting to be moving to Coyne Airways, and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Mr Batten told The Loadstar.

Coyne Airways, which is 20 years old this year, is developing its network to include Africa. The carrier, which owns no aircraft, has focused previously on the Middle East and the CIS. “There is lots of opportunity to grow the business,” said Mr Batten. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Larry Coyne, CEO and founder of Coyne Airways, added that he was delighted that Mr Batten was joining.  “We are really pleased to be welcoming someone with such extensive experience in our industry.”

There is no word as yet as to who will replace Mr Batten at Swissport, although insiders suspect an external appointment. “It’s a good package, and I expect a big name will come in,” said one source. Mr Batten added that he had enjoyed his time at the handler, and was sorry to be saying good bye to colleagues.

Mr Batten has had a variety of roles in his 35-year career in air cargo, including at TNT Airways and Qatar Airways.  His biography states: “His attitude leans towards constant improvement and doesn’t accept failure, so he can be a real nightmare to those who don’t know him. His favourite saying is ‘now you have told me a 100 reasons why you can’t do something, think of the one that will make it happen’.

Together with Larry Coyne, who – perhaps against the odds – doggedly set up an aircraft-free airline, operating in some of the most challenging markets, the duo can be expected to make some waves.