JERSEY’S lead air traffic controller has cleared his final plane for landing as he marks the end of an ‘amazing’ career spanning three decades.
The now former head of air navigation services at Jersey Airport, Richard Mayne, has retired from the role – which he said gave him ‘the best view’ in the Island for many years.
Mr Mayne started his career in 1988 as a trainee air traffic controller, working his way through the ranks until becoming the air navigation head around two years ago.
The 54-year-old said he was ‘incredibly lucky and fortunate’ to be in a position to retire and travel the world – with a skiing trip in Austria among the imminent holidays.
He said: ‘I count my blessings – it’s been an amazing career and to retire at a young age is fantastic.’
Looking back on the last 34 years, Mr Mayne recalled a few significant events – such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001.
‘It was the day before the air display over here and I was the air display controller. Having that awful thing happen, and [debate over] whether or not the air display would go ahead the following day – that was obviously memorable for the wrong reasons.’
Another standout experience for Mr Mayne was the Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010, which created a giant ash cloud that disrupted air travel over Europe.
‘Airspace, all of a sudden, was shut everywhere and everyone was having to think of procedures, ways around it and safe ways to operate – that was very challenging.’
As he sets his sights on new horizons, Mr Mayne said he couldn’t help but ‘pinch himself’ to think he had done something he ‘really enjoyed’ for a career.
‘I’ll be finishing in the tower with the best view in Jersey, surrounded by fantastic people. I can’t stress enough how great the people I work with are and the job itself. For anyone thinking of a career in air traffic control I can only recommend it.’