Airport Coordination Limited’s longest serving female Manager, Ingrid Hainy, reflects on nearly a quarter of a century working at ACL.
In 3 days, on the 11th March 2022, I will have completed 24 years with Airport Coordination Limited (ACL). I guess when you first join a company you don’t know how long the company will maintain your employment or how long you as an individual will stay with a company. There are a lot of factors that attract an individual to a particular job and once in that employment there are company attributes that keep you interested in working for longer.
One day I saw an advertisement for a manager’s job with ACL in the airport newspaper ‘Skyport’. As I knew people in ACL I asked about the role and visited the office to get a look at how they worked. It was a couple of hours well spent as I liked the look of the office, already knew staff and was up for a new challenge. I sent in my application and CV and was fortunate to get an interview with Peter Morrisroe the Managing Director. Around a week after my interview, I had a call from Peter offering me a chance to join ACL. I didn’t hesitate and after a brief discussion accepted the job offer; nearly quarter a century later, I am still here.
What attracted me to ACL?
I had been in contact with ACL over several years while in my previous Airline flight operations job. At first my contact was with British Airways Scheduling Committee who allocated the take-off and landing slots prior to 1992 at Heathrow Airport (LHR). ACL morphed out of British Airways (BA) to become the first independent airport slot coordinator in Europe.
This was becoming the way EU member states were evolving, with a move from national carriers allocating slots, to independent coordination, where a qualified person was appointed as the coordinator. The BA staff who had worked as the scheduling committee were seconded into the newly formed independent company, remaining with ACL until the years they left or retired.
But back to other reasons why I was attracted to ACL….
I had worked for my previous company in Flight Operations for 16 years, I had gained a huge amount of knowledge and been exposed to many different challenges during those years, for me it was time to find a new challenge. Plus, I wanted to get off shift work! Working 12 hour shifts day and night can be tiring and impacting as it also included weekend work. I wanted to get into to a more normal 5 days per week, daytime hours as a working pattern. I had worked as Cabin crew for 10 years travelling and working across time zones, having a GREAT time, but regular hours definitely appealed to me after 26 years.
Then there was the challenge of developing a new set of skills, planning rather than reacting, computer skills, analysis skills and solving complex capacity problems. In operations it is a reactionary job with a 24-hour planning window using a plan already in place to get the daily operations completed and on time. ACL was at the time a longer-term planning company. Over the years it has developed into an operational (on the day slot allocation), planning company and a forecasting company helping airports to understand what impact growth will have on facilities.
Why did I stay so long?
I had found a job that empowered me to make decisions, a job that I allowed me to use my logical brain to solve problems and offer solutions to the customers, whether airports or airlines. It was a chance to help organisations with innovative thinking, change processes and contribute to the development of a software used for Coordination. The most pleasing aspect was to see the innovations and solutions put into practice and succeed. It also gave me the opportunity to speak to people of all nationalities and at all levels around the world daily, something that I had done in my two pervious jobs.
What gets me out of bed in a morning?
It is the challenge that I know the day will bring, the problem solving, the sharing and gaining knowledge. The people I speak to and work with on a daily basis. It is a job which makes me go the extra mile for my customers yet gives me freedom to have an enjoyable work/life balance. I believe that what you put into a job dictates what you get out. If you don’t get any satisfaction from your job, then it is time to look elsewhere. Most people have a long working life ahead of them, it is a waste of important years if you don’t enjoy what you are doing.
This will probably be my last job in my working life, I would say it has been the most enjoyable, however I also enjoyed my other roles prior to ACL, they all contribute to the person you become. In life you never know what the future holds, and I may yet have another working life challenge, if so, I will be ready and just as challenged as I was 24 years ago.
Written by Ingrid Hainy
Heathrow Coordination Manager