Just right for a staycation: As thousands of Brits remain sleeping in foreign airports, Air Traffic Control boss Martin Rolfe enjoyed a £1.3m bonus – and is revealed to live in a sprawling £2m mansion in Hampshire
- Martin Rolfe owns tennis courts and a swimming pool at his Hampshire mansion
- Britons are stranded as a result of the systems failure on Bank Holiday Monday
While thousands of British holidaymakers’ plans for a summer getaway were wrecked by aviation chaos there is one family with plenty of space for a staycation at home.
The millionaire boss of the air traffic control system that went into meltdown enjoys sprawling gardens complete with tennis courts and a swimming pool at his £2 million Hampshire mansion.
Martin Rolfe, 51, his firefighter wife, Anna, and their son enjoy all the trappings that come with the £1.3 million he took home this year as CEO of National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
The huge sums help fund an adventurous lifestyle with the family enjoying quad-biking trips and horse riding. Meanwhile, Mr Rolfe is a sailing enthusiast whose old yacht was once blown up for a magazine feature.
The chief executive has seen his pay double despite NATS admitting in its annual report it relies on ‘ageing systems’ beyond their ‘use by’ date.
Martin Rolfe (pictured), 51, his firefighter wife, Anna, and their son enjoy all the trappings that come with the £1.3 million he took home this year
He enjoys sprawling gardens complete with tennis courts and a swimming pool at his £2 million Hampshire mansion
On top of his £477,000 basic salary, he received a £281,000 annual bonus, pensions benefits and a backdated £555,000 long-term incentive plan this year.
It comes after the company stood by a huge £1.2 million bonus it owed Mr Rolfe last year while running a cost-cutting regime to save money after Covid.
He took over as CEO after a similar glitch under his predecessor led to the cancellation and delay of hundreds of flights.
NATS insisted at the time Richard Deakin’s replacement was nothing to do with the computer malfunction before Christmas in 2014 but it may give his successor pause for thought.
Mr Rolfe is an aviation veteran who studied aerospace systems engineering at the University of Southampton at the same time his future wife was reading electrotechnical engineering there.
They both went on to work for the American aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, where he worked as director of aviation programmes before becoming managing director.
He switched to take up the same role at NATS in 2012 before gaining his promotion to the top job in 2015.
Holidaymakers joined the long queues in the hope of getting checked in at Palma Airport
Meanwhile his wife stayed at Lockheed Martin before becoming a firefighter for Hampshire Fire and Rescue after having their son.
Away from work, Mr Rolfe enjoys sailing trips around Europe. After chartering yachts around the Ionian, he and a friend decided to buy one for themselves in 2001.
He told how he flew to Athens and drove to the coastal town of Preveza where they bought a 1982 Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch called Fizzical, which would today be worth around £30,000.
Mr Rolfe and his wife enjoyed several years sailing her around the Ionian and entering Regattas.
But after taking the boat back to the UK to sell her in 2007 she was bought by an insurance company – which blew it up for a feature on gas safety in Yachting Monthly.