Three questions for... Vincent Harrison, managing director, Dublin Airport

In our regular Routes News series we take a look at the people that attend Routes events and find out more about them, their jobs and the current industry issues impacting them.

In our regular Routes News series we take a look at the people that attend Routes events and find out more about them, their jobs and the current industry issues impacting them. In this issue we speak to Vincent Harrison, managing director at Dublin Airport.

Q) How focused are you on the new runway at Dublin Airport?
A) We will definitely be talking about the new 3,110m runway, which will be delivered in 2020, at World Routes. The development is great and we are looking forward to having the extra infrastructure and length that the runway will provide us with, as it will allow us to link to more destinations. The new runway gives us a very strong message for the medium term but at World Routes we will focus on our short-term messages too. We have seen all our markets grow strongly in recent years and in the first six months of 2016, Dublin was the fastest growing major airport in Europe. In particular, North America has been a real stand-out destination and growth there has made us one of the top five airports in Europe for connectivity to the continent. With US pre-clearance available at Dublin Airport and the strength of the market in both directions, we see that continuing to grow strongly. Of course, because World Routes will be in China, there will be a strong focus on the Asian market and this is one region where we currently don’t have direct connections from Dublin. However, we do see strong potential, obviously to China and also south-east Asia.

Q) Who are you keen to meet at World Routes?
A) Aside from the Asian focus and markets, we have about 35 airline customers at Dublin Airport and, while a number of them are located here in Ireland, you rarely get the opportunity to meet all of them under one roof like you do at World Routes. This is important as we like to discuss how the market is performing and how we can assist our airline partners in their businesses. Keeping existing customers informed and updated on our market is always an important aspect of Routes events. There is also a lot of ongoing contact with airlines that have Dublin in their medium-term plans. We know no piece of new business is ever delivered in one meeting, so to keep engaging with customers over the years and talking to them all under one roof is invaluable. You can’t cover everything in a 20-minute meeting, but you can put together another piece of the puzzle that makes the argument for a new route. In the last two to three years we’ve had many new airlines start in Dublin so we know the sort of information that’s needed to get up and running, whether it is establishing logistics, introducing local suppliers or establishing a marketing presence, we can help with all of that.

Q) Best and worst part of the job?
A) The best part is the wonderful people that work with me. Working in an airport also means we get to see our customers, the passengers, passing through our workplace, whether they are arriving or departing. Our job is to make their journey as smooth as possible and we also work in a rare environment where you get to see not only your product but the customer experiencing it right in front of you. It is a great industry to see what is working and what is not working and you get positive and negative feedback very quickly, so our staff have to be able to react to anything. Our customers also come from all nationalities and all ages, so there is a huge variety of demands made upon our staff who have to act on them. The worst part is you have to be permanently contactable and the phone is always on, but that is a part of the job. My team manages the airport and I am perfectly happy that the airport would operate just as well without me there as with me. However, there is so much variety to the business it is hard to have a job like this without thinking of it most of the time.

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This article is modified from an original feature that appeared in...

ROUTES NEWS - ISSUE 6, 2016 

PLEASE CLICK HERE to view the magazine.

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