Tricia Williams: Chief Operating Officer of Manchester Airport

Tricia Williams 1Tricia Williams is the Chief Operating Officer at Manchester Airport, having held a variety of other roles at the Northern Hub previously. Manchester Airport is the third largest airport in the UK and the global gateway in the North. As a keen supporter of arts in the North, the airport has been a sponsor of the Royal Exchange Theatre for more than ten years.

Tell us about your first visit to the Royal Exchange Theatre

My first experience was when I hosted a team away day there. We had full use of the corporate meeting room, which was excellent. It enabled us to get away from the busy airport operation and think more creatively and strategically about the issues at hand.

My typical day is…

I begin my day early to make sure everything’s set for the busy morning at the airport, arriving at work by 8am so I can catch up on emails and check the day’s diary before my team catch up. I always spend time catching up with my direct reports at the beginning of each day so I’m fully briefed on what’s been happening across the site operationally. Running a 24 hour business means there’s always something going on.

Following my team catch up, I usually have a busy day of meetings with our stakeholders and third parties. There’s such a varied range of groups and individuals involved in the business, from airlines to Government departments to local businesses, and it’s important for me to meet with and speak to them regularly so we can continue to enhance Manchester as the UK’s global gateway in the North. As the day comes to a close in the offices, the buzz of the airport is still on-going so I have a catch up with the terminal and airfield teams to check on the operations before heading home.

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What theatre production has made you give a standing ovation?

I’ve been encouraged by many amazing performances to give a standing ovation. The latest one was Billy Elliott at the Liverpool Empire.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be…

That’s a difficult question! Maybe a meteorologist if I had taken a different path post university.

Why are the arts and culture important to you?

I think it’s important to escape occasionally and experience different environments and cultures. The arts allow you to do that, and really showcase the individuality, diversity and imagination of others. Plus having a healthy arts scene here in the North West promotes the region and aids inbound tourism, which is why we sponsor so many arts organisations.

The best bit of your job

The most rewarding thing for me has been seeing the airport grow into such an important part of the North. As the largest airport in the UK outside of London, Manchester really is the UK’s global gateway in the North and our ever-growing route network demonstrates that. With direct destinations launched to Beijing, San Francisco, Houston and Phuket amongst others, it’s no surprise that Manchester is now one of Europe’s top 20 busiest airports and it’s amazing to be a part of this growth.

If you could programme one show what would it be?

One about the airport would be very entertaining and interesting I think. It could showcase all the goings-on and people that get our 27m annual passengers up in the air each year.

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My most memorable work moment is…

I think my most memorable moment is being a part of the phenomenal growth Manchester Airport has witnessed in recent years and the positives that brings. Not only does our growth connect the region to key global markets, it also benefits local people through generating economic value, job creation and ultimately our dividend. Having the Chinese President pay us a visit two years ago to announce our Beijing route was also very poignant for me.

Can you sum up your relationship with the Royal Exchange in 5 words

It feels impossible to sum up our relationship in five words but I’d have to say it’s valuable, exciting, and constantly evolving.

What makes Manchester so special?

Manchester is so vibrant, so diverse and so unique. It’s fantastic to see it grow into the powerhouse UK city it is, and with the continued growth of Manchester Airport I see no end to the city’s potential.

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