Former Business Travel Association chief executive Adrian Parkes is to chair the Focus Travel Partnership independent business travel consortium.

Parkes has been named as non-executive chairman of the 60-member group which claims a buying power of £1 billion.

The move coincided with Focus becoming the first new member of the BTA in 2020.

The appointment of Parkes follows the organisation becoming a limited company in 2019 and with Abby Penston as managing director.

Focus also agreed a new multi-year partnership with Travelport for use of the Galileo GDS.

Parkes, who previously worked for Bmi, Etihad Airways and Portman Travel, said: “I have first-hand knowledge of the considerable strength and reputation of Focus and have known them from their first beginnings in 1999 when as British Midland we were one of the first airlines to support Focus.

“They have an impressive reputation for driving new technology in the sector and they are an organisation that is resource light, flexible and forward thinking.

“The relationships it has built with suppliers delivers extremely well for both parties and with strong representation across the UK, they have become an important voice on industry-wide issues.”

Penston said: “I am tremendously excited to be working with Adrian, as I know he will support partners in growing their profitability and effectively expand our partnership base.

“Adrian joins our already phenomenal in-house team, and together with the extensive talent of our members, we plan to create and maintain a formidable brand, recognised in and out of the business travel community.”

She added: “We are delighted to have become a member of the BTA as it means that our partner companies will have their voice, opinions and issues heard by both the rest of the industry and government.

“Our membership ensures the BTA benefits will be extended to all our 60 members, whether that is through lobbying, networking, or accessing industry intelligence. This is critical to ensuring our members continue to develop strong business strategies to help them thrive.”

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten said: “As a leading business travel consortium and one with 60 TMCs within its organisation, Focus is a significant and welcome addition to our membership, and one which now takes our representation of business travel spend in the UK to well over 90%.”

Travelport senior account manager Emily Whalley said: “We have signed a multi-year agreement, utilising the Galileo platform.

“This partnership will give Focus members access to preferential pricing on Travelport products and services, along with a best in class account management team.”