BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
In the space of just 30 minutes every weekday, around 5.00 in the evening, around 20 flights arrive and depart from the Eurohub Terminal. At the same time, aircraft are arriving and leaving from the Main Terminal next to the Eurohub. Across the runway and acres of tarmac, at the site of the original airport, the overnight freight operation is just beginning to wake up with the arrival of staff and the preparations for the first aircraft from Europe or the United States.
Some of the 7,000 staff from the 150 organisations based at Birmingham International Airport (BIA) see to the needs of their customers. The baggage handling operation is sorting, checking and dispatching bags to the many departing aircraft. The ground crews are loading and unloading aircraft, putting meals on board, filling the fuel tanks and cleaning aircraft during their brief spell at the airbridge. The airlines' ticketing staffs are dealing with lines of passengers, each of whom may have a different final destination. The information desk is fully staffed, dealing with the many queries, such as people wanting to know if their plane is on time, the location of a bank or hotel, or trying to work out how to get by road or rail to their final destination. Passengers flow through the lounges, passport control and security checks, and use toilets, duty free shops and restaurants, all of which have to be kept clean and stocked for their convenience. All of these activities, and more, are coordinated by BIA's Operations Director, Richard Heard. Richard explains his role:
'Out of all the people that work at the airport, BIA employs about 700 and I oversee about 600 of them. These operations people are basically concerned with the day-to-day running of the airport and the short and medium-term operational planning. This includes a whole raft of things on the airfield and in and around the terminals. The air-field side of things essentially involves