Airport Controller - A conversation with Paul
What did you do prior to joining Birmingham Airport?
I worked for British Airways for 19 years here at Birmingham Airport in a variety of roles from Ramp Agent to Terminal Co-ordinator and finally as an Aircraft Dispatcher.
What attracted you to the role?
Quite frankly I was moved into the role along with colleagues from other departments when the Control Centre was opened. However, I looked forward to the role due to its diversity and comprehensive coverage of the terminal operations. This is very similar to the role that I enjoyed so much at BA. The team, including the managers, who work in the Control Centre were people who I have a lot of respect for.
Tell us about your training?
The training for our roles which are very varied has been quite intensive and is ongoing with refreshers and regular updates but fortunately my previous experience with BA and in the Building Management Centre have given me plenty of relevant experience for the role.
So what’s a typical day for you then?
First thing is to check for my allocated position, then sign in to a workstation. I check for any relevant updated information and settle into the allocated role, whether it be PA calls from the departures position, operating the valve doors from the Arrivals position or allocating aircraft parking stands, whilst monitoring a variety of systems from FIDS through to the fire alarm.
What advice would you give for potential new recruits?
Having an interest and some knowledge of airport operations and aviation is definitely an advantage as is being a comfortable as part of a team. Any new starters should expect to join a very friendly, professional, highly experienced, customer focused and knowledgeable team in a mostly quite relaxed environment responsible for just about the whole of the terminal operations.
So what do you like best about your job?
It has to be the team that I work with who can always be relied on for help and plenty of banter!
And what qualities are the most beneficial?
Being able to 'multitask' is a must, dealing with one thing whilst being aware of other issues and conversations, being proactive, primarily trying to foresee and hence avoid any problems. Keeping calm at all times and as before being able to fit into a team with a very wide scope of experience.
Are there opportunities to develop in your career?
Although there is limited scope to move on within the control centre, the experience that we gain from our varied roles would surely help us to develop into other departments.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining BHX?
What are you waiting for? And I hope you like shift work!