Aviation industry leader Anna Smallwood has been appointed as Professor and Head of the Centre for Air Transport Management at Cranfield University and will take up her post in October 2023.

Anna brings huge practical experience in leadership and change management within the European airline sector, as well as in risk, safety and crisis management. During her career she has responded to major industry crises including 9/11, the volcanic ash airspace closure of 2010, and the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Anna joined the TUI group in 2008 and was Head of Risk, Safety & Compliance for the UK operation, Thomson Airways, before becoming Head of Fleet Programme Management in 2012. In this role, she was responsible for the delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner Entry-Into-Service (EIS) project – with Thomson Airways becoming the first UK operator of this advanced technology aircraft.

Anna established pan-European leadership of fleet programmes including aircraft acquisition and EIS activity of all new Boeing 787 and 737MAX aircraft ordered by the TUI Group, as well as fleet and digital systems change programmes, as a senior leader in TUI Aviation Engineering and Maintenance. In her current role as Director of Airline Operations for TUI Airline, Anna has responsibility for all aspects of 24-hour airline operations control including operational planning, flight dispatch, operations, customer and crew control for all five of the Group airlines within TUI.

Anna will be responsible for further developing Cranfield’s internationally renowned MSc programme in Air Transport Management and Airport Planning & Management, and associated research activities. She will also play a leadership role in developing industry-led research activities within DARTeC, the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre, focusing on digital transformation for safe, seamless and sustainable air travel.

Anna said: "I am delighted, humbled and excited to join the team at Cranfield University, it is a very special place with incredible people, facilities and capabilities. I have been privileged to work in the air transport industry for over 25 years and I am looking forward to working with the team at the Cranfield Centre for Air Transport Management on the opportunities and challenges for our industry in the future."

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield University said: “I am thrilled to be working alongside Anna. With an incredible breadth of experiences, she will inspire and guide future students and air transport professionals.”