A day in the life of… Thomas Hansen

23 August 2012 (Last Updated August 23rd, 2012 18:30)

Thomas Hansen is head of the airport control centre at Düsseldorf Airport. He has worked in the industry for 26 years.

A day in the life of… Thomas Hansen

How long have you worked at Düsseldorf Airport?
I started my career at Düsseldorf in 1986.

For the past ten years, I was one of 15 duty traffic managers responsible for air traffic operation, the snow and ice patrol, and airside safety. I dealt, for example, with any incidents that arose, as well as the resumption of normal operation following the disruption of airport operations.

Last year, I became the head of the new airport control centre (ACC), which will begin operation in October 2012.

What is your daily routine?
Building up the airport control centre is a challenging task. Düsseldorf's ACC philosophy is to bring together all stakeholders involved in the operational airport business and share information with everyone in a transparent way. Airlines, ground handlers, federal border police and the airport departments responsible for the allocation of the central infrastructure resources, such as aircraft stands, gates and the check-in counter, have to work closely in order to achieve a good, punctual performance across the airport.

"The implementation of airport collaborative decision-making is a huge milestone and will be a crucial connection to the ATC world."

The ACC is our answer to the challenges we face in Düsseldorf as a next-generation hub that must cater to growing numbers of transfer passengers in a limited airport environment. The implementation of airport collaborative decision-making (A-CDM) is a huge milestone and will be a crucial connection to the ATC world.

At the moment, my team and I are working on the specification of several IT tools. This will help us to make flight processes more visual and predictable, and better forecast possible capacity increases resulting from severe weather conditions or other constraints.

What is your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy working in a fast-paced, ever-developing environment with new tasks every day, and being in the position to make improvements that will affect everyone at the airport, right down to each individual passenger.

And your least favourite?
I'm tackling a complex issue involving many different agencies, companies and authorities. In order to draw up and implement an action plan, we must therefore tread some very lengthy administrative paths. But I am confident that, in the end, together we will find the best solutions.

What are your ambitions for working at Düsseldorf?
I think that Düsseldorf Airport already stands alone because, with more than 20 million passengers last year [2011], it has the feel and flair of a big international airport hub. At the same time, however, the airport still has the charm of a regional airport; I know the names of most of the staff I meet during my working day. I hope it stays that way.