A young star has urged others to forge a career at Teesside Airport after rising to become a Duty Manager aged just 27.
Acklam-born Eleanor Potter began working at Teesside Airport just over three years ago after a season with Thomas Cook as cabin crew.
Now she is a Duty Manager after taking on a range of jobs both on the airfield and with passengers.
And she has encouraged other people forging aviation careers to consider Teesside as flights and activity at the airport ramp up.
Seeking a job with her feet on the ground, Ellie moved to the airport’s Jet Centre to be a Fixed Base Operator in 2019. It was there that she gained valuable experience both on the ramp and on the apron.
“I was not only responsible for arranging handling of private aircraft but for adhering to our clients every need. This could be anything from fuelling, reservations, chauffeuring and catering.” said Ellie.
“It was very in depth and to a high standard in delivering that VIP experience, which of course takes extreme attention to detail”.
“You’re able to dip your feet in all areas of the business to find out what you really enjoy. I met so many people when we had the Radio 1 Big Weekend – I met Craig David and Miley Cyrus.
“That’s one thing I miss from that job! But it also gave you a big insight into the security side of things.”
Her first hands-on role saw her part of the team responsible for ensuring luggage was processed and screened properly. It also saw them alerting Border Force of flights and maintaining the highest standards.
“You had to know your stuff – that was a great experience,” she added.
Ellie then took on a new challenge as a Passenger Services Co-ordinator – ensuring those catching flights had the best experience possible from the car park to the aircraft cabin.
“I absolutely loved it – it gave me huge insight into the passenger service aspect of the airport and what our passengers really want.
“When things didn’t go to plan, if we had a flight delay or cancelation, I was dealing with passengers from a different point of view, I had to put myself in their shoes. It was so varied, and it opened my eyes.”
The role of Duty Manager sees a lot of responsibility rest on Ellie’s shoulders. Communication, adjusting and dealing with issues as they arise are vital skills.
“No two days are the same – that’s the biggest challenge,” she said.
“It’s the nature of the job. It’s being able to adjust and prioritise what is at hand.
“In the Jet Centre, we could go from having one flight to 15 – so it’s an environment where things can change with a click of your fingers.
“As much as it’s challenging, it’s exciting and that’s what I love about the role. Every day, I don’t know what I’m coming in to.
“I thrive off the challenges I’m provided with – and I absolutely love it. Sometimes you can’t prepare yourself – but you learn from it every single day.”
After leaving school, Ellie helped run her mum’s iconic Stockton studio – Samantha Moore Theatre Arts – after returning from seven years at theatre school in London.
But she’d always harboured a deep-seated love of aviation – and explained why the airport remained close to her heart.
Ellie said: “I’m a Teessider – and it represents the area. I’m proud to work for it and I want to be a part of its success and its future.
“This role has allowed me to get a step closer to where I want to be, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds. It’s amazing to see big airlines like Ryanair and TUI coming in now, we really are putting Teesside on the map”.
“Seeing higher passenger volumes and those flights taking off… there’s nothing quite like seeing that and knowing you’ve contributed. I hope I continue my career here and see it go on to even bigger things.”
When it came to others embarking on a career, or looking for a change, Ellie explained why Teesside Airport was somewhere she’d wholeheartedly recommend.
She added: “The people here are so helpful and happy. There are so many smiling faces – and the staff here are very close. That shows in the work we do with our passengers.
“I’m an example that there is a career here for anyone starting out. From someone new to aviation, or for someone experienced, there is a place for everyone.
“Whether it’s in our Deployment Department, or in Air Traffic Control, or within Passenger Services, I’d recommend it to everyone.
“It’s such an exciting environment and industry to work in and I am forever proud that I get to play a part in it every single day.”