3 concerns for… Chris Sanders, contemporary air travel development diector, Newcastle International Airport

3 concerns for… Chris Sanders, contemporary air travel development diector, Newcastle International Airport

In our normal Routes News series we check out the people that attend Routes occasions and find out more about them, their work opportunities and the current industry issues affecting them.

Within our regular Routes News series we take a look at people that attend Routes events and discover more about them, their jobs as well as the current industry issues impacting all of them. In this issue we speak to Bob Sanders, who recently retired through his role as aviation  advancement director at Newcastle International  Airport terminal.

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  Q) What happen to be the biggest changes in air support development across your 15+ many years in the business?

“When I started at Newcastle, it happened in 1999, it was in the early days of Western european low cost airlines.     easyjet’ s Liverpool base opened at the end of 1997 but Bristol’ s Proceed base was still to happen.   At the time, I recall we mainly saw the future as 50-70 chair jets opening up new European locations and transatlantic services a good probability.   Daily wide-body flights towards the Middle East?   No opportunity! Then came the tragic occasions of 9/11.   It was the sombre Routes held in Dublin around two weeks later with an amount of airlines understandably absent.

“Our Newcastle based airline, Gill Airways, failed within nine times of 9/11 as the banks withdrew their particular support and it meant we had in order to fill a significant gap.   Within securing a replacement on London Stansted airport departures we were very fortunate to delightful our first low cost airline, Move, who would take the route from c50k a year to 250k within 2 yrs.   On the day of the Go path announcement, I recall Barbara Cassani privately saying that, as an industry and thus of 9/11, we would see a lot more change in the next 12-24 months compared to we could have expected to have seen within the next ten years.   A great call, Barbara!

“I have observed the ascendancy of low cost air carriers in Europe, albeit with the unusual failure of low cost and heritage airline along the way, and now, of course , inexpensive is entering the mainstream long term market through the likes of Norwegian, Air Asia, Westjet and others.   Air travel within Europe has become a product, especially evidenced by BAs’ choice to charge for all Economy as well as drinks within Europe.   Very little product premium there other than, maybe, a nicer type of snack to buy!  

“I have experienced the phenomenal growth of the MEB3 airlines.   Another interesting growth over this period has been the development of airline alliances.   These types of have helped strengthen some heritage carriers against competition from less expensive airlines of all types.   Nevertheless , no chance now of actively playing Air France off against KLM or vice versa!   Whilst legacy airlines have had to seriously deal with their cost bases in order to endure and in some cases prosper.   It’ t a much tougher game now.

“Given this rate associated with change, who knows where the industry is going to be by 2035?   My own desire is for it to be safer, more powerful and more financially secure, but still providing great value flying many more individuals on many more routes across the globe.   Oh, and for the UK Government to get recognised APD as an inhibitor associated with economic activity by abolishing this. ”

  Q) What have been your greatest achievements at Newcastle Airport?

“I can be happy with building up a good mix of legacy flight hub services so as to offer the greatest regional connectivity possible.   More than 1 . 2m passengers a year are actually using these services.       I would be lying if I failed to say a few airlines have was able to escape the net but John plus Leon, I know, are keen to keep the pursuit.   Good luck, chaps!  

“At Newcastle we also have a good mix of inexpensive airlines, a growing list of destinations but still a strong package holiday product that is especially popular with our leisure clients.   There remains more to obtain though.

“Singling away highs and lows, Emirates’ has been my proudest achievement and Usa my biggest disappointment – a person win some, you lose some and you also come away much wiser. ” 

Q) Exactly what have been your personal highlights of going to Routes events?

“The people, the places frequented and of course some of the en-route stopovers plus flights made to reach the Ways events and, naturally, Routes alone which has grown phenomenally since our first event in Amsterdam.      

“Take a step back and remember, the results of most our efforts are life changers for people.   New routes lead to new personal relationships, trade hyperlinks, employment opportunities, opportunities to explore different ethnicities and so on.   I really have liked my small part in this awesome event across the years.     For those just starting their Paths career, I wish you good fortune and always remember to enjoy it yet never, ever, forget what your own endeavours mean to real individuals!

“It is quite basic in reality, it is only the hurdle associated with airline profit and loss evaluation you have to overcome and perhaps is best seen as a game of snakes and ladders – some airports have planks mainly comprising ladders, some a level balance between the two!   In case your board is just full of snakes – perhaps time to get a new work or try and redesign your panel! ” 

Bob Sanders retired from his part at Newcastle International Airport in December 2016 after more than 15 years of services and attendance at over twenty five Routes events.

Routes News 7 NCL

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