Interview with Lisa Monaghan, head of Ryanair's base in Zadar Airport

What was your first impression when you came to Zadar Airport? What went through your mind?

When the aircraft door opened I remember the heat and the blue sky. There was airport staff there to greet us and I thought to myself this is a really nice place.

How would you compare Zadar Airport to other European airports you fly to and to those where you worked as the base supervisor?

We fly to many European airports but we dont get to spend much time there so it woud be hard to make a comparison. I have worked in both London Stansted and Marseille airport, they are much larger airports than Zadar. In Zadar everybody knows each other and it makes it a very friendly place to work

Do you find processes regarding Ryanair`s base at Zadar Airprot smooth and satisfying? How do you see Zadar Airport`s infrastructure, funcitonal? Can you list a few things you would like to change and improve?

Yes it all runs smoothly and very satisfactory due to the relationship between Ryanair and Zadar airport staff. All the facilities in the airport are very functional for both passengers and crew. The only thing I would consider to change is the frequency of the buses because if you dont have a car to get to and from the airport the taxi's can be expensive in peak season.

How would you describe Zadar Airport in two words?

Welcoming, Friendly

Is this the smallest airport you have ever been to?

NO, Kerry Airport in Ireland

How do you find cooperation and communication with Zadar Airport staff? Could you compare it to other airports where you worked as a base supervisor?

All staff are very helpful and friendly.No request is ever unachievable for the staff in Zadar. I cant compare it to the other airports I have worked in as they are a lot busier and larger than Zadar.

Is there something at Zadar Airport that you find exhausting, anything that bothers you?

No, it is a really lovely place to work, hassle free airport for crew to operate from.

Do you have any information on Ryanair`s future plans at Zadar Airport? Do they plan to place more aircrafts in Zadar, what can we expect for the next season, 1 aircraft base, 2 or maybe 3?

I am unaware of any confirmation for next years plans at present. Ryanair have released some of there plans for other base for summer 2015, but I have no information on the plans for Zadar.

Ryanair will soon recieve its new aircraft delivery? Do you think Zadar could have more destinations for the next season with Ryanair after the new delivery of B737-800?

At present I have no information on that.

What do you think, is there a possibility for Zadar Airport to be a whole-year Ryanair`s base in future? Which of the current destinations would you suggest for a whole year connection to Zadar?

Ryanair is always expanding and growing its bases, I guess you never know what the future plans will be. If they were to be operational all year around I would suggest destinations such as London Stansted, Paris Beauvais, Brussels Charleroi which are existing summer routes.

Which new destinations would you recommend as connections to Zadar?

At present we don't have any routes to Spain or Portugal. I think they would be good routes to Zadar.

Are you satisfied with Zadar Airport`s sales onboard? What is the top selling product onboard at ZAD? Why do you think it is the most selling product?

Yes sales on board are very good from Zadar to our current destinations. Our top selling products on board are our perfumes. Ryanair's prices are very competitive. This year we ran a promotion which offered the passengers an additional 10% reduction on all fragrances. Sales in perfumes went up as we were cheaper than the duty free shops in some of the airports.

Are passengers pleased with the Ryanair`s products that sell onboard? Do they usually ask for something else? What?

Ryanair offer a wide variety of products on board. We cater for all times of the day. Passengers dont usually ask for any specfic item. We always have something similar to offer the passenger and they are happy with the selection available on board.

Ryanair has been working on the improvement of the services provided to its passengers, do you notice some different trends onboard? Are passengers more relaxed, has the proportion of business/leisure passenges changed?

The improvements Ryanair have made in the past months has definitely influenced the passengers trends. Our allocated seats have made boarding the flight less stressful for the passengers and families have the comfort of knowing they have their seats booked together. The second bag is a big incentive for the passengers. In Zadar the majority of the passengers are coming for leisure.

For how long have you been working for Ryanair? How long it took you to become a base supervisor? Was it difficult? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

I have been working for Ryanair since March 2011, so 3 and a half years. I first became a deputy supervisor in March 2013 and in March 2014 I became a base supervisor. Ryanair offers great opportunities to further your career in the company. I hope to continue working as a Base Supervisor and who knows after that. There is alway possibilities in Ryanair.

Your job here is a mixture of flying and office work, which one do you prefer more?

I love the mixture it gives the job diversity. In the office I get to work with the people in the airport and in the air I get to deal with passengers. I love flying and meeting new people and talking to them on there experiences in the places they are travelling to.

What is the main challenge for you while working onboard?

In Ryanair we are always working to achieve on time departures, so the main challenge is to board a full flight, keep all the passengers happy and depart on time.

You have been living in Zadar for over half a year now, how do you see life in general in Zadar and Croatia? Was there anything that surprised you?

I love the lifestyle that is on offer in Zadar. It is relaxed atmosphere and people are very friendly. I was surprised at how beautiful Zadar is. Zadar is becoming a popular tourist destination but it has kept its charm and unique character.

Was it difficult for you to get used to life in Zadar? What was the greatest challenge?

No, it reminds me a bit of Ireland if only we had your weather. The greatest difficulty was driving on the right side of the road.

What other towns, nature parks, national parks and other attaractions have you visited during your stay in Croatia? Was there something you find special, something that impressed you?

I have travelled a lot in Croatia, and seen some beautiful places and coastlines. I have drove down to split exploring the towns on the way and drove up to Rijeka and Pula. I have visited Kornati, Krka and Plitvice national parks. My favourite place was Plitvice and one of my favourite towns is Trogir near Split.

Once the season finishes you are coming back to Stansted, where would you like to work as a base manager next? Do you plan to ever come back to Zadar privately?

I am an ambitious person and always loves a new challenge so yes I would like to continue to further my career in Ryanair.

Yes I will definitely return to Zadar for holidays. I have made some amazing friends during the summer. I will return to visit them for sure.

Your husband Tony was with you in Zadar during the season, how did he like Zadar and Croatia?

Tony loved living in Croatia. The laid back lifestyle really appealed to him.

How do you spend your days off at Zadar?

We wanted to see as much as possible so each days off we travelled somewhere. During the summer when it was hot we would spend the days relaxing on the beaches, our favourite was Zaton.

What was the first Croatian word you learned?

Dobar Dan!!

Are you sad or happy (or both) for leaving Croatia in one month?

Very sad, I will miss Zadar. It has been an amazing summer. I have met and made friends with some of the nicest people.

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