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Meet Fran Cunningham, one of our ATC team members

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An Introduction to Fran Cunningham

A long-term team member of LBA, Fran has been with us for nearly 10 years. With a wealth of experience, she has since worked her way through multiple departments. Fran is now a member of our vital ATC team.

Q: How did your aviation career begin, and develop?

A:  After spending 6 years as an Air Cadet, I was fairly certain that a career in aviation was for me. In 2012, I started working within the Airside Safety Unit (now Airside Operations) at LBA. I really loved the variety of the job and the team, but when a position opened up in Air Traffic as an assistant in 2014 I jumped at the chance and, although I definitely miss the outdoors aspect of the role, have never looked back. 

I was incredibly fortunate that in 2017, the airport paid for my ATCO training at Global ATS at Gloucestershire Airport. This was 18 weeks of incredibly hard work away from home followed by a further 10 weeks in early 2020, but the hard work paid off and fast forward to now I have completed both the Aerodrome and Radar courses and am on my way to being dual rated.

Fran Cunningham, ATC at LBA
Fran Cunningham, ATC at LBA
CAA Licence
CAA Licence

Q: What is it like to work in Air Traffic Control?

A: I love the pace and the variety of my job - no two days are ever the same given the traffic patterns and Leeds’ weather! The shift work element takes some getting used to, but actually, I wouldn’t go back to the 9-5 lifestyle now and the hours work perfectly around a family. 

Q: What would you say to someone aspiring to work in ATC, or aviation in general?

A: The job satisfaction after a busy day is fantastic, and gives you a real buzz. I feel like I am constantly learning.  It is a common assumption that the job is stressful, in fact, it’s often the first thing people say when I tell them what I do for a living. It’s true that you can be working under pressure at the time you are controlling, but we work well as a team and frequently train for any emergency situation that may arise.

Q: What about outside of work?
A: I live with my partner and our two beautiful girls. I feel very lucky to be able to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world, Yorkshire!

Next time you enjoy a flight from LBA, take a second to wave to our ATC team during take off! 👋