FORMER football referee and fireman, Davey Laws is now chief executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, on a mission to revitalise the transport hub's European and international services.

In September the airport bosses had agreed a new German deal to continue Dusseldorf flights, used by many business fliers..

At the time, Mr Laws said those services, taken on by Flybe after Jet2 ended a long-running agreement, would be a catalyst for greater commercial demand at the site.

But he has refused to rule out potential new domestic flights, as well as further routes to Germany, Italy and Scandinavia, as he embarks on improving the base’s offering to both commercial and holiday passengers.

He has now secured an operator deal with Thomas Cook, which will provide new routes to Turkey, Tunisia, Cyprus and Spain’s Balearic Islands.

Mr Laws said Thomas Cook’s arrival will be a major fillip for the airport and travellers following the recent collapse of carrier Monarch, which ran services from Leeds Bradford.

He has also thrashed out an arrangement with Jet2 to deliver thousands of seats for winter holidays to Tenerife, with Ryanair and Tui agreeing to provide further services.

To help him on his quest, Mr Laws has recruited aviation development director Chris Sanders, who he has worked with before.“It’s about raising the awareness of the airport and there is a phenomenal catchment area here,” said Mr Laws.

"We have started on the customer journey, which starts when they enter the airport.

“We have reduced security times and we are going to change the culture here as well.

"We want people to be relaxed when they are going through the terminal and enjoy their time in the airport, and we are on the road to change that for the better.

“I want us to roll out a new identity and approach to how we treat customers and that will include better security processes with more lanes and scanners.” That terminal work, will, said Mr Laws, take at least two years.

“That will get people feeling that the airport is moving in the right direction,” he said.

“We want a terminal building that can cope with seven to eight million passengers a year.

“We fly to more than 70 destinations but there are lots of areas that are untapped.

“We are not doing any real long-haul flights, and we have to be selective but there is no reason why we cannot do a Pakistan flight or the Middle East flight and Orlando."