Five questions with . . . Richard Roberts

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Q.  What is your role and how long have you been in it?

Dunedin Airport chief executive. I have been in the role for two years.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

Working for an organisation in a city and region I love and being able to play a part in making changes that can have a major positive effect on the lives of the people in our region.

Q. What is the hardest thing about the job?

Bringing people together from around the city and region and getting them to believe we will always be better together. This region is one of the most amazing places on the planet. We need to work together more often and understand if we deliver a very clear and compelling message about who we are and what we have, we all benefit from the outcomes. Our region offers pure and authentic attractions. I can’t think of many things at all in this region that have been built for tourists. They just happen to be there. Albatross, penguins, seals, Dunedin Railway Station and more. We just need to get that message out loud and clear.

Q. What is your biggest achievement in the job so far and why was that important?

Being given the opportunity to bring people together and helping them realise their potential when they apply their amazing skills together towards a common vision and goal. Our relationships with all our airline partners have developed to a level we have never seen before. We have developed these relationships by opening up strong, regular, open and honest conversations in order to understand each other’s business much better. Our city and our region needs to work together more often.

Q. What is the biggest challenge for Dunedin Airport over the next 12 months?

Our biggest challenges are two-fold.

We need to work on implementing the expansion of infrastructure at the airport. The growth in passengers over the last 10 years is about 30%. We are now on the cusp of the elusive million passengers per year. The time has come where we need to expand the facilities, such as parking and terminal areas, to allow us to provide great service to all our customers.

We also need to continue to engage with all our city and regional stakeholders and work together to develop and magnify the reasons why this is such a great place to visit. If we can get our visitors to fly directly into the heart of this wonderful region, we will generate the greatest benefit to our economy.

Richard Roberts is the chief executive of Dunedin Airport.