Life at MAN - Jen Quilliam, Ground Operations Duty Manager (TUI)


As you relax in the departure lounge preparing to board your flight, on the apron below you is a hubbub of activity, with a small army of people working to ‘turn around’ the aircraft and get it ready to depart. Jen Quilliam, a Ground Operations Duty Manager for TUI, explains what goes into getting passengers away on their holidays on time, what keeps her coming into work each day, and why Orlando is at the top of her travel wish list.


How long have you been working as a Ground Operations Duty Manager for TUI at Manchester Airport?

I’m fairly new to the role! I only started in March this year. It's a new role we have around all our bases.

What does your job involve on a typical day?

There are no typical days with what I do. We tend to spend the first part of the morning on check-in, where we have a meeting with our handling agent, and then we come airside, monitoring the safety and the turnaround of the aircraft.

We have regular meetings throughout the day with our service providers and always make sure we're visible for our crew, flight deck, and customers, so we can support them as needed.

What skills are needed for the role?

Time management is critical in what we do. We need to make sure we're in the right place, at the right time, to make sure our aircraft depart at the correct time. We're communicating with lots of different departments, making sure that everything runs smoothly.

We also need to be really safety-focused. Our number one priority as an airline is keeping our customers, our aircraft, and our staff safe.

What do you enjoy the most about working in an airport environment?

For me, the most important thing is the people I meet - that's our customers and it's also other staff members. You get to form true bonds with people and build a really good working relationship, and those conversations with customers when they're excited coming on their holidays really make my day!

Would you recommend working at the airport?

Absolutely, yes. My job’s exciting, it's interesting, it's fun, and yes, it's hard, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else I'd like to work.

Tell us something interesting about your job that passengers might not know?

It takes around 25 people in order to depart an aircraft on time, from the time it arrives, to the time it takes back off again. It's not just TUI, either – we have our service providers, like our caterers, our cleaners, our ramp agents, and we all have to work together.

Part of my role is to make sure that all those people are in the right place at the right time, coordinating their efforts and working as efficiently as possible.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I have two young children so I love spending time with my family. On days off, we play football far too much and we like to travel! TUI offers some great staff benefits and I take the opportunity to go away with my family as much as possible.

Which destination that Tui serves from Manchester do you most want to visit?

The destination I would most like to visit with my family is Orlando. With TUI we’re really lucky, we fly to Melbourne Airport, which is just outside of Orlando. It’s a smaller airport and TUI are the only UK carrier that flies there, so the queues clearing US immigration are reduced, and that's how I want to start my holiday!