WHILE Christmas is largely a time for rest and relaxation with family, time stops for no one at Launceston Airport – particularly for the staff manning it 365 days a year.
The Examiner met those putting in hours of work at the airport on Christmas Day, making sure travellers reached their destinations safely.
Family time for firies
Six members of Aviation Rescue and Fire were able to enjoy a Christmas lunch with their families at the airport while on standby for any emergencies.
Fire Commander Troy Seen said it made working on Christmas Day that much easier.
“The airport allows us to give out visitor passes to our wives and kids, so we enjoy that,” he said.
When they are not attending call outs, the team carry out training across a range of areas including on Boeing hoses, ladders, knots and rescue equipment. Disused buildings and planes are also used for disaster training.
Friendly greetings at screening
As the leading hand in screening, Peter Lawson greets plenty of people as they make their way through the airport.
Fortunately, on Christmas Day, screening staff receive a lot of friendly greetings in return.
“It’s a little bit quieter than usual today. Everyone has been really good and wishing us a Merry Christmas,” he said.
“My background is in hospitality so I’m quite OK with working on days like Christmas.
“A lot of people thank us for the job we do.”
Flying doctor ready to help
For pilots at the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Christmas can either be a “feast or a famine”.
Pilot David Liddell and trainee James McCormick were on standby from the afternoon through to midnight.
Mr Liddell said they needed to be ready at a moment’s notice.
“From the time we get a call, we have 30 minutes to have the engine started and be ready to go,” he said.
“We get can to a place like St Helens in 15 minutes, rather than the two hour drive it takes for an ambulance to get out there.
“That would mean a paramedic would be taken up for up to five hours, but instead we can respond quickly.”
Checking in with a smile
At the Jetstar check-in counter, airport crew member Ellie said there was something special about working on Christmas Day.
“We’re happy to be able to send people off on their holidays or to see their family at Christmas,” she said.
“Everyone is in a good mood and the people I work with are great, which helps if you’re away from family on Christmas.”
Once through to the terminal waiting area, passengers could be greeted by Amanda Lovegrove at the Launceston Store.
She said they had seen strong sales at Christmas, particularly for local produce and souvenirs, and during a recent three-day market at the terminal.