We offer industry-leading training and with hard work and a desire to achieve, the career possibilities are endless. At Swissport we never stop looking for better ways to do things and we’re known for our “can-do, will-do” attitude.
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After ten years working as a concreter, Swissport gave Geoff Kitchen the change he was looking for. And what a change it was! Geoff hit the ground running, was before long promoted to a supervisor position and on his way to a rewarding new career.
Fast forward three years and now Geoff has a planning-focused supervisory role with Swissport’s QantasLink operation at Brisbane Airport.
When asked for his most exciting moment with Swissport, Geoff says that the job itself is pretty exciting. “How many people can say that they go to work and push back an aircraft?”.
Geoff says being alert and aware of the environment is critical to working on the ramp with Swissport as it’s very much a front-line role. “We also need people to be keen to put their hands up and help with anything – handling, baggage, load, freight, cleaning, whatever – it’s a team effort.”
“For me in a supervisor’s role, the most important thing I need is people skills. I need to be able to adapt and know how to talk to people and get along well with them so we can get the job done as a team.”
Geoff’s favourite movie is the Bourne Ultimatum.
Customer Service Manager
Like many Swissport team members, Kate Langdale applied for a check-in role with her heart set on one day gaining an airline cabin crew position.
Again, like so many Swissport team members, Kate found that she enjoyed ground services and has paved a different path gaining skills in check-in, boarding gate, lounge, aircraft movement coordination, recruitment and training.
After almost six years, Kate became a Training Coordinator for Swissport’s Perth, Broome and Darwin operations, which was a full-time role focused on supporting trainers and improving training delivery.
Kate enjoyed developing her training career, saying: “I love training – it’s so good seeing people come out the other side and see their progression.”
Swissport has a network of training coordinators through Australia and New Zealand, who speak each week and regularly get together.
Kate has recently been appointed Customer Service Manager for Virgin Australia in Perth.
A career highlight for Kate was securing a place on the 2013 Top 50 Reward Trip skiing in Perisher. “It’s nice to know you’re valued, and I always mention the trip to people when I’m running inductions so they know it’s possible,” she says.
On leaving school Kate tried her hand at university studies and in a real estate agency, before applying to Swissport. She says Swissport is “like a big family” where she has made life-long friends and is constantly learning.
Don’t mess with Kate – she loves boxing!
Josie Holly Perrie
Manager Airport Services
Josie Holly Perrie believes it’s part of her job to provide a fun and happy workplace. “We can operate safely, give our passengers and clients everything they need and still have fun at work!”
Despite the firm focus on a fun workplace, Josie also believes that to be a strong manager you can’t be afraid to not be liked. “Not every decision you make will be a popular one and you have to have the courage and resilience to have difficult conversations. It’s also about walking the talk.”
“The goal is a strong team where people are safe, motivated and enjoy coming to work and providing stand-out service at every step.”
Josie has worked with Swissport for ten busy years, which have seen her working on projects in-house with airline clients, introducing new airlines, overseeing various ports, and going on three reward trips – to Bali, Perisher and Hamilton Island.
“Swissport nurtures and builds you and I’ve really grown with the company and learned along the way. I’ve always had very good people that I could go to for advice and support, and endless opportunities.”
Josie regularly travels to Indonesia and would one day like to manage operations at a local airport.
Manager Regional Airports
Steve Hayes joined Swissport in a casual role to supplement his handyman business. Fast forward eight years and Steve is a Manager Regional Airports overseeing several operations throughout Australia. Steve has worked with Swissport at various airports and in a range of different roles, most recently as Manager International Operations at Brisbane Airport.
A major career highlight for Steve was winning a place in the Aerocare Top 50 reward trip in 2010, which saw him and a bunch of other high achievers sailing the Whitsundays alongside Swissport CEO – Pacific Glenn Rutherford.
“The top 50 trip was the best holiday I’ve ever been on. It was great meeting people from all over the country and I’ve kept in touch with some. It was a real turning point for me – it was motivating and inspiring and it helped me feel even more connected with the business and with management.”
Not long after the trip, Steve was encouraged to take a big step up into the role of manager of Swissport’s Adelaide operations. It was a steep learning curve but luckily Steve says he has never questioned the support he has received from his managers at Swissport.
Steve points out that while being a manager is not an easy job, if you can be flexible and go above and beyond, your efforts will be rewarded.
Steve believes “sleep is for the weak” and between work and triathlons, there’s never a dull moment!
Customer Service Supervisor
Meggie Pho loves the variety of her role with Swissport and that every day is different. “I’m someone who can’t sit still so the job suits me!” she says.
Meggie joined Swissport three years ago after completing a business degree at university and realising an office job wasn’t for her. “I do a range of different roles and represent many of our different customers at Sydney International – AirAsia, Cebu, Scoot, Jetstar – which keeps it very interesting,” she says.
As well as strong support from supervisors while on shift, Meggie appreciates the one-on-one catch ups that all Swissport team members have each month. “It’s an opportunity to talk about our goals and give feedback, discuss opportunities for new skills and cross training, and generally keep things on track,” she says.
Meggie says while she particularly enjoys working at the boarding gate and ensuring the efficient turnaround of an aircraft, it’s the team environment that she loves most about Swissport. “It’s very friendly. It’s like a big family. Everyone’s there to support each other and we have a laugh together when things have been challenging. Even on our days off there is a group of us who meet up then as well – movies, dinner, drinks.”
Meggie must be a kid at heart – her favourite movie is Ice Age!
Ramp Trainer & Supervisor
Greg Spencer’s role with Swissport regularly takes him all over Australia and New Zealand, supporting start-up operations and providing additional skills where they’re needed.
As a self-confessed aviation buff, this diversity suits Greg perfectly. He says: “I love working with different aircraft, particularly gaining wide-body experience. Supporting start-up operations is particularly rewarding, where you get the opportunity to learn something and pass it on for others to take over.”
Greg has been based at Perth Airport with Swissport for more than 14 years. He recently took some long service leave to coincide with his volunteering role in ground support at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport.
Greg points out that aviation shift work is very different to standard hours, with start times at Perth Airport from 3.45am and finishes as late as 2am. “The work and hours really don’t suit everyone, and if it doesn’t suit you, I think it’s best to move on. In our environment, it’s critical to have a good work ethic and we expect our people to always try their best,” he says.
Greg has a pyrotechnics license and flies high-powered model rockets.
Customer Service Agent
Jenny Kelley reflects on when she first joined Swissport in Bundaberg in 2014. “For me, as a mum, it was important to get back to work. Swissport has helped give me back ‘me’”!
As a new mum, Jenny had returned to Australia after travelling the world for 16 years, working in corporate hospitality with the Honda Formula 1 team. “We had a son who we wanted to grow up in Australia.”
“I applied for the job at Swissport which was a good match for my skills and experience, but a lfamily-friendlyfriendly than travelling with a racing team!”
In 2016, after two years, Jenny relocated to the Gold Coast, her home town. “It has been very rewarding moving from a very small port to a large one and being able to fit in, adapt and be welcomed. I’ve achieved many things during the past year and I’m proud of that.”
Jenny says despite working in a busy, growing operation, one thing is a constant. “Every day when I walk in there’s always a big, warm smile. No matter what’s going on, you’ll always get a reassuring smile or even a hug!”
Jenny travelled the world with the Honda F1 racing team!
Ramp Duty Manager
Prior to joining Swissport four years ago, Aristo Gotsis’ aviation experience involved taking holidays and childhood plane spotting! “At first I found it amazing working among the planes and was in awe of it for the first few months,” he says.
“I have always been fascinated by planes and remember watching them as a kid – we lived on the flight path,” he says. “It’s special because not everyone can work at the airport and be so close to the aircraft.”
Aristo explains that there’s a lot to learn when you first come on board. “You have to be very aware of everything around you and what everything means. The ability to make quick decisions is most important. At first you’re very nervous and everyone is different in how long it takes them to adapt.”
Early on Aristo was happy to learn the ropes and support his managers, but he was soon given the opportunity to step up to a supervisor’s position. He says his challenge now is focused around “motivating people, maintaining good working relationships and making good decisions”
“The people you work with are the most important thing. We all look after each other and go the extra mile to support each other.”
Aristo owned a chicken shop before joining Swissport!
Customer Service Supervisor
Natasha Byrnes had always thought about an aviation career, but it wasn’t until a Google search led her to Swissport in late 2014 that things kicked off. “I had been working in an office after completing a traineeship, but my thoughts of working in aviation were always there,” she says. “I applied and within a week was on my way.”
Natasha says her eight years in the fast food industry prepared her well for the role with Swissport. “It really taught me about customer service and dealing with challenging situations, which are, unfortunately, inevitable,” she says. “The most important thing is having a can-do attitude and genuinely trying your hardest to be helpful and exceed expectations.”
Natasha is now trained to represent Swissport’s full customer base at Sydney International Airport, meaning a level of variety she really enjoys. “I really like what I do,” she says. “If I’ve had a hard day, when I reflect on it, I always come back to thinking ‘actually, I love my job’.”
Natasha counts her recent promotion to supervisor as one of her biggest achievements. “When I first started, the supervisors really took me under their wings and I have learned from their leadership skills,” she said. “Being a supervisor is a much bigger role and I’m really enjoying it.”
Natasha’s favourite movies are anything starring Channing Tatum!
Bussing Operations Manager
Bussing Operations Manager Luke Morrison loves being a hands-on manager, and it shows – he’s known around Brisbane Airport for always having a smile on his face!
“As a manager, it’s important to me to be a real support person, someone who is approachable, who leads by example and who others aren’t afraid to be honest with.”
Luke’s accessibility is also important for Swissport’s bussing customers, who need him and his team to be contactable and responsive. “We always have a back-up plan and work things out before they become problems. If we were to drop the ball at our end, people miss flights, and there’s such a big impact. It might only be one run for us, but it has a lot of effects that can be major, and keep flowing on.”
Luke is clearly proud of his 70-strong team of drivers. “They do a great job. If they see someone struggling with their suitcases, they jump up and help them. The first thing they want to do when they get on the bus is tell you about where they’ve been or where they’re going, all that sort of stuff.”
Luke’s career has been heavily focused on both airlines and coaches, working in ground operations and cabin crew and management with several airlines and driving for coach companies. He keeps his skills fresh by jumping in the driver’s seat whenever duty calls!
Luke once appeared in an English pantomime – as the back end of a cow!
Manager Airport Services
Emma McNamara says joining Swissport in 2010 was the best decision she ever made. “Swissport really looks after its people and I was very lucky that they saw something in me and gave me the chance to manage the Gold Coast operations.”
As a naturally shy person, Emma says her role leading a team of 180 staff has really forced her out of her comfort zone. “I have found that communication and listening are where I really need to focus my efforts,” she says. “It is so important to listen – most of the good ideas will come from the people around you.”
Emma feels that her team has real ownership of their operations and full responsibility for how things work. “We have independence, but there is 100% support from head office if we ever need it,” she says.
Emma says the job can be stressful and thick skin and the ability to think quickly are essential. “You also have to be prepared to give your heart and soul if you want to go places,” she says. “With Swissport, you really can go places.”
Sometimes the toughest days are the most rewarding, says Emma. “At the end of the day, if things have been really tough with cancellations and even airport closure, we can all get together and have a laugh.”
Emma has a gorgeous son named Bronson.
Ramp Agent / Trainer
Steve Hynes, or “Hynesy” as he’s known, has been part of the Swissport team for a staggering 14 years. He’s seen a lot in that time, but says one of his highlights was helping unload a RAAF-chartered Russian Antonov carrying six 40 foot containers bound for the Woomera Rocket Range.
Steve says: “I love the variety of the work we do – the different roles and the different aircraft make it really interesting.” Steve has also enjoyed travelling extensively throughout Australia providing ramp training, and meeting a lot of people along the way.
Joining Swissport (Aerocare as it was then) was big change for Steve, as his first aviation role after a long career in the printing industry. He counts among the highlights the friendships he’s made along the way – and not just in Melbourne but throughout the country.
As for the skills required to succeed at Swissport, Steve says above all else you need to be open-minded and prepared for anything. “No two days are the same, so you need to be good at thinking quickly and taking quick action.”
Steve is about to notch up his 38th year as a volunteer firefighter and has been awarded Life Membership of the Country Fire Authority!
Customer Service Supervisor
Damien Sutton’s love affair with aviation started long before he joined Swissport (then Aerocare) on the Gold Coast. As a teenager, he took a flying course, held a student pilot licence, did work experience with a ground handler and airline, and studied tourism and travel at college.
“From college it was a pretty natural move into a customer service position with Aerocare and I’ve learnt a huge amount over the past three-and-a-half years. I love the variety of working with different airlines and I find I’m always learning something new.”
Damien credits his supportive managers with encouraging him to take on new challenges and helping build his confidence. “I was really helped out of my shell, given constructive feedback and support to take things on like the supervisor role.”
Damien is very well respected by his teammates, having twice made the company’s Top 50, a peer-voted recognition scheme. He’s been on two reward trips, both P&O cruises, and believes there “is a lot of incentive to do good work”.
“Working for Swissport there are excellent career opportunities and it should be an exciting future.”
Damien loves the laid-back Gold Coast lifestyle and tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors.