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APPOINTMENTS: My First Step To Success: Up, up and away; Mark Hookham meets Robin Tudor, Corporate Affairs Manager, Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Byline: Mark Hookham

ROBIN Tudor's biggest challenge is to keep his feet on the ground as Liverpool John Lennon Airport's growth soars.

When Robin, 39, first started at the airport, around 400,000 passengers passed through its terminal doors. Today that figure stands at three million.

``The secret to the airport's success is getting the right team together. We have people who are good at their jobs and enjoy working here,'' he said.

Robin's original career choice, when he left his Runcorn home for Bath University at the age of 18, was to be an aeronautical engineer. He had been promised a sandwich course with British Aerospace but his graduate placement fell through and he opted for a three year degree instead.

He said: ``BAE had over-subscribed and I was one of the unlucky ones who didn't get in. Looking back, I guess it was an odd choice anyway.

``I was always more interested in science and engineering at school and wanted to follow it through. But a three year degree convinced me engineering was the last thing I wanted to do -too much maths, theory and formulas.''

But he stayed in the aircraft industry and in 1986 won a BAE technical sales post in Hatfield, Herts. His job was to help provide in-depth sales information for companies based in South East Asia.

He said: ``I was based in the UK but I travelled to places like Japan, Singapore and the Phillipines. Other people were only selling in Europe or the UK, so I was pretty lucky. I was selling civilian aircraft but, after seven years, the company started changing with different arms being sold off -I decided it was time to move.''

He sent his CV and a covering letter to the managing directors of every airport in the country and by chance his search for work coincided with Liverpool Airport's hunt for a commercial assistant.

A year after Robin joined, the airport's growth began. Management signed a deal with Direct Holidays -one of the first direct sales travel companies. The deal caught the eye of a fledgling easyJet which, in 1997, also moved to the Speke airport. In the same year development Peel Holdings bought the site and injected pounds 70m of investment into a new terminal building, which officially opened last year.

Robin said: ``The growth has been quite startling. At first the biggest job was to keep on top everything. I was doing the PR and commercial side and then started going into marketing and corporate affairs.

``But gradually as we grew, our team expanded. We appointed a human resources manager and a terminal director and my job is probably a lot less hectic than it used to be.

``I seemed to have started new areas in the business and then moved on.''

He believes the key to the airport's success was that first Direct Holidays deal.

He said: ``For the first time, a company was heavily marketing the fact that you can fly from your local airport. People were shocked to see how many customers who lived in Merseyside were flying elsewhere.''

In Robin's current role as Corporate Affairs Manager, he helps develop the company's growth strategy -it was recently named the country's fastest growing airport -and acts as the head of public relations.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2003
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