airport boss

The Airport Boss



extra relatively do her rounds
turn in cover (3)  condition (2)
vehicle generate make her way
 offend due to (2) refreshing
budget tough time gearing up
tough share (2) on board (2)
profit strike (2) dependent
manner so far (2) drive a hard bargain
aviation enthusiast strike a deal
subsidy volume (3)  take off (2)
cost (2) maintain growth rate
bargain secluded get used to
fault on the go great deal (2)
trick count (2) go on the offensive
scratch potential do the trick
shore surface scratch the surface





It’s just after eight in the morning . . . and the airport is still relatively empty.

But Maria Muller is already doing her rounds.

She’s the managing director of Rostock-Laage Regional Airport.

Her first meeting is with the German military, which shares the airport complex, including the fire safety service.

The firefighters have just purchased new vehicles.

She asks if he has turned in some of the old firetrucks.
Yes, he has, he says. Because keeping them running would generate extra costs.

Maria Muller has a degree in hotel management — but always dreamed of flying.

After starting her career at Frankfurt Airport, she made her way to Rostok.

Most of her colleagues are men.

Toralf Noske, Rostok-Laage Airport Fire Department: “Her manner is refreshing. She’s open and knows what she is talking about.

That’s what counts.

I can accept a person like that, and enjoy working with them.”

Back in the airport building, things are slowly gearing up: three planes are due to take off.

And just as at other local airports, every single passenger counts.

The boss would have loved to get the low-budget airlines on board.

Maria Muller, Rostock-Laage Airport Manager: “I have a tough time with these negotiations. Easy Jet and Ryan Air drive hard bargains. They set stiff conditions — and we haven’t been able to strike a deal so far.”

Journalist: “And of course, you want the airport to make a profit.”

Muller: “The airport has to. Every passenger creates costs. And of course, I have to do more than to just cover them.”

A flying enthusiast, Muller knows as much aviation as she does about business.

Since she took the pilot’s seat at the airport, annual passenger volume has risen to 220,000 a year.

But the airport is still dependent on regional government subsidies.

And there’s an added problem: the air-traffic tax, introduced in 2011.

Maria Muller, Rostock-Laage Airport Manager: “We’re all really angry about that. I’ve been able to maintain traffic volumes here in Rostok . . . but with a growth rate of just 2%.

That isn’t great.

And the tax has cost some airports in Germany 15% to 20% of their passengers.”

A New Year’s reception in Rostok.

Muller says it took some time getting used to the city — she’s from southern Germany.

She says it can sometimes get a bit lonely.

Maria Muller, Rostock-Laage Airport Manager: “I live a fairly secluded life here in Rostok.

But maybe that’s my fault — during the day, I’m working 110%. I’m busy and always on the go.

And I travel a great deal.

And when I get home to Rostok at the end of the day, what I want to do is get comfortable and relax.”

She doesn’t have much free time. Keeping the airport running is a daily job.

She’s going on the offensive to bring in new passengers and has some new ideas for doing that.

Maria Muller, Rostock-Laage Airport Manager: “Some 600,000 visitors come to the Baltic Coast from the Frankfurt region every year.

If we just had some of them flying Lufthansa to Rostok, then that would do the trick.

There’s potential there . . . and we’re just scratching the surface; many more could come.”

A new route has also been introduced for holidaymakers traveling to the Red Sea resort of Hurgada.

Once a week, 200 passengers will soon be taking off from Rostok for sunny Egyptian shores.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. The airport is busy 24-hours a day. Is this correct or wrong?

2. People can see both passenger airplanes and fighter jets (warplanes) taking off and landing at the Rostok-Laage Regional Airport. Yes or no?

3. Does Maria Muller have a university degree in aircraft engineering? Which university major is more appropriate in managing an airport?

4. She has good interpersonal relationships and skills. Is this true or false?

5. “Easy Jet and Ryan Air drive hard bargains. They set stiff conditions.” What does this mean? Give examples. Why does she want to bring low-budget airlines on board?

6. More travelers have been flying to and from Rostok-Laage Airport since Ms. Muller took the pilot seat. Yes or no? Is the airport independent and self-sustaining?

7. Are airports happy about air-traffic taxes? How do they feel about air-traffic taxes?

8. Does Ms. Muller have a great social life? Why doesn’t she have an active social life?

9. What is her goal? What are some of her ideas for increasing turnover?
A. Is your local airport very busy? What are some major destinations?

B. How could you local airport increase its passenger count? Would you like to see more, less or the same amount of air-traffic in your city?

C. Are airports exciting places? Do you like the atmosphere of airports?

D. Are there many, some or few women directors, CEOs or presidents of major organizations?

E. There should be should more female CEOs, directors and upper-managers. What do you think?

Comments are closed.