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Matthew Browne

Airport Services Coordinator

Matthew Browne, self-confessed ’AvGeek’ from our Airport Services team shares how he has turned his love of all things aviation into a career. 

What do you do at the airport? I’m part of the Airport Services team whose primary task is the day-to-day operation of the terminal to ensure our customers have the best experience possible. We also conduct apron safety tasks and respond to emergencies when necessary. Essentially, we make sure the operation runs smoothly and ensure any possible disruption to our customers is minimised.

How many steps do you clock up in the terminal each day? On average, I would cover about 18-20,000 steps during each 11-hour shift, with the most I’ve done being around 32,000 steps.

What do you love most about your job? Being able to have a positive impact on a customer’s journey. I’m a big believer that the little things can have a positive impact on a customer’s journey, and it’s always a pleasure being part of their travels.

Most intense moment on the job? Many come to mind, but one that stands out is coming across and immediately assisting to a gentleman, in the terminal at 4am, who was unconscious, unresponsive and had very shallow breathing. Some great teamwork from our Integrated Operations Centre and Airport Fire Service colleagues, as well as St John and Airport Police, saw the gentleman get the care he needed and was transported to hospital.

You are currently full-time on a 4-on 4-off pattern - what do you do with your days off? On top of travelling where possible, which is somewhat limited currently, I put in a lot of hours studying for my Bachelor of Aviation Management degree at Massey University by distance.

What inspired you to study aviation? Commercial aviation is all about connecting people, countries, cultures and societies, which is pretty incredible. My passion for the industry is centred around utilising aviation to provide a service, such as medical or fire aircraft operations. The recent bushfires in Australia demonstrated just how much of an impact aviation can have in minimising the impact of such events.

Aspirations once you finish your degree? There is a wide range of management opportunities in aviation, from airlines and airports, to consulting and government jobs. However, my aspiration to be involved in the management of emergency services aircraft operations is what gives me the drive to work and study as much as I do.

Top tip for balancing work and study? Separate the two. Luckily with a 4-on 4-off roster I’m able to do this relatively easily. Setting realistic targets for study also helps greatly to ensure enough is being achieved without burning out.

How has COVID-19 changed your day-to-day at work? We’ve seen a massive change in aircraft movements and passenger numbers meaning what we would normally do throughout the day has also changed. However, we have had numerous repatriation flights that have kept us busy, and seen us reconfigure the layout of the terminal to ensure appropriate COVID-19 measures take place, such as social distancing. 

Any special COVID-19 work stories to share with us? It has been a pleasure to assist thousands of tourists to get home and each one has a unique story, so there are too many to list. We’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with airlines we don’t normally see, such as Lufthansa. We wanted to make sure that as well as the passengers having the best experience possible, so too did the crew and airline staff to the point where the Police Sergeant and I sourced the NZ flag for the Lufthansa Captain to wave from the cockpit escape hatch as he taxied out to depart.

You are a self-confessed ‘AvGeek’ (Aviation Geek). All-time favourite plane? Well, who isn’t?! For nostalgia, it has to be the Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747. However, for the future and proof of how far aircraft design has come in terms of technology and efficiency, the Airbus A350 is a close second.

Coffee or tea? Being both a shift worker and having spent seven years working with helicopters, coffee is the only option!