Our Culture


Our Purpose

Purpose: Sustainably grow our aviation-related business to support the growth our community.

The Statement of Intent outlines a vision for Cairns Airport through to 2040 with a series of key focus areas including sustainability, employment, cutting-edge facilities and aviation and trade targets to futureproof our operations and support the Far North Queensland community. View the Cairns Airport Statement of Intent here.


  • Safety every day: We create a safe, secure and healthy culture for our people and customers.
  • Do the right thing: We are accountable and do what is honest and ethical, demonstrating integrity, and worthy of the trust of others.
  • Strengthen community: Strengthen and invest in those around us, the teams we work in and the communities we operate in.
  • Create value: In collaboration with others, we create positive organisational, social, environmental and economic value.
  • Care always: Care, service, compassion and respect guide the way we operate at all levels, with all people.
  • Think ahead: Boldy approach the future through curiosity, adaptation and creativity.


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Environment & Sustainability

Cairns Airport is implementing a progressive Environment Strategy to guide our actions through to 2025, and to set the scene for long term aspirations in alignment with global standards such as the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By investing in good environmental practice, we’re not only meeting our social responsibilities and protecting our valuable environment, but we’re taking care of our bottom line too. Doing the right thing for the planet is actually good for business, and long-term success requires the two to work in harmony.

Our responsibility as custodians of the natural environment is to:

  • Protect our mangroves and waterways
  • Minimise our emissions footprint
  • Be a responsible neighbour 
  • Preserve World Heritage Reef and Rainforest

Read more about our Environmental Goals and Action Plan here.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Airports acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea on which we operate. We acknowledge the continuing connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to Country and the strength and knowledge that they bring to our community. We pay our respects to their Elders past present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Great Place to Work

Cairns Airport has been certified as a Great Place to Work (May 2024 - May 2025). The Great Place To Work certification recognises employers who create an outstanding employee experience. Certification helps job seekers identify companies that genuinely offer a great company culture.

Great Place to R

A diverse workforce for a diverse industry

North Queensland Airport's, the owner of Cairns and Mackay Airports is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive work environment. Diversity encompasses differences in gender, age, language, cultural background, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and ability. Diversity also refers to the many ways we are different in other respects such as educational level, job function, socio-economic background, geographic location, thinking style and whether or not one has family responsibilities.

We strive for a workforce which is supportive of differences and encourages full participation of all employees in contributing to the achievement of our business objectives. We recognise that the differences our people bring to the workplace add to its strength.

NQA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan has been designed to include all of these factors and to focus on a number of key areas that have been identified for action. Our objective is for our team to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and to work in an environment where individual differences, skills, talents, and views are valued and everyone is encouraged to learn, develop and share their knowledge.

View our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan here.

Take a look at some of our Employee Testimonials below:

Alicia Prince - Head of Operations, Cairns Airport

I have worked at Cairns Airport for nearly 20 years, having started originally for a few weeks on a temp holiday cover after returning from living and working overseas. I have had the opportunity to stay with the company over all these years, whilst learning so many different parts of the business, through numerous different roles. Cairns Airport has supported me from my young, career days, through starting and growing a family, and stepping into leadership roles.
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I have worked in numerous different roles within the business.  I have always been encouraged to grow, and given the right tools and training to do so. Cairns Airport has always been supportive of my decisions for my family, as well as providing me with opportunities to grow professionally.

I love working for a company who plays such an important part in our community and our economy. It fosters a great sense of ownership amongst our team that what we do is important. The airport is obviously intrinsically linked to tourism which is essential for the region, but people travel for so many different reasons, not just for holidays. Every day, we are helping people get to weddings, funerals, reunions, healthcare appointments and business meetings. There is never a dull moment in airport operations.

I feel very proud every day to be part of the Cairns Airport team and support anyone considering a career with us.

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Sylvia Semei - ICT Security Risk Analyst, Cairns and Mackay Airport

I joined Cairns and Mackay Airport's ICT team based here in Cairns in mid-late 2023. I happened to be job-searching at the time and Cairns Airport is the only employer in Cairns I applied to, and successfully landed the job. Read More

My line of work naturally crosses between the business and ICT in that I look after the management of ICT security governance, risks (i.e. Cyber risks) and awareness for both Cairns and Mackay Airports. On any given day, I could be looking through device or activity logs, thinking hard about ICT risks that might arise due to our business processes or critiquing our ICT procedures and systems with a security lens. Sometimes I even make nice PowerPoint slides exported to PDF where I share cyber education and awareness with the rest of my colleagues – this part I find the most fun and creative.

I am super lucky to be working with a great group of very kind and intelligent individuals within the ICT team and around the business, and we all get along very well! In fact, today as I am writing this, we happen to be sharing lunch through a “Pot Luck” event we organised (although I totally forgot about this, oops! Thank you Mando Cairns for providing me a solution).

The thing I like most about my job is the confidence I feel in knowing I am doing a good job of trying to secure the Airports’ ICT. Although I am grateful for the trust instilled in me to lead this effort, this is a team effort and it wouldn’t be possible without the support and direction of a strong leadership team, and the strong buy-in from the rest of the business. This speaks to the culture of the wider team and community here at Cairns and Mackay Airports. Whilst we are getting better at securing Cairns and Mackay Airport's ICT, we still have room for more improvements, and this is what keeps me busy these days.

If you are looking at working at the one of our Airports in the future, you will find yourself in a highly regulated environment with lots of rules and regulations driven through policies and procedures. You will also find yourself among some interesting humans who really love what they do and it radiates through the culture and workplace atmosphere making it a comfortable place to work – even I am at risk of being here forever (but shhh.. don’t tell my boss that!).

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David Nye - Head of Airline Partnerships, Cairns and Mackay Airport

The opportunity to work for North Queensland Airports (NQA) afforded me the opportunity to continue my career journey in the industry I love and in a role that I felt I could add value to the business. Having had a long career in aviation I am driven by seeing the positive impacts my role and the organisation I work for have on local communities. Read More

As an organisation North Queensland Airports provides a supportive culture that empowers its employees to make decisions and deliver positive outcomes for the business. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged from all levels of staff and taken constructively.

Results are achieved by working collaboratively across the business with other team members and other departments, which again gives a true sense of working together, utilising the wealth of experience we have in the business to deliver success. We have a diverse workforce in terms of knowledge and background, and I believe this creates a point of difference when comparing NQA to other airports and businesses. 

As an organisation NQA provides a platform for a positive work life balance, respecting staffs personal circumstances and situation. Staff safety and welfare is a priority with regular engagement on issues such as mental health and bullying and harassment. A no tolerance approach to actions that may impact the wellbeing of other staff members or stakeholders highlights the culture and style of leadership at NQA.

As a business NQA encourages staff to seek opportunities to grow within the organisation with a history of employees moving to different roles both in Cairns and Mackay.

For me, working in a business that provides the personal support to achieve my goals and provides the tools to do this effectively is critical for my motivation and NQA provides this 100%.

If, like me, you want to know that your job has a positive impact on every person in your community either directly through employment or in directly through tourism or other services then NQA is an employer that will enable you to achieve this goal.

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Martine Baker - Airport Duty Manager, Cairns Airport

When I first joined Cairns Airport, it felt like coming home. I was drawn by the familiar faces of colleagues I had worked with at Qantas in the early 2000s. While there have been challenges in the company culture over the years, especially before Richard took the helm as CEO, there's been a remarkable positive shift in recent years. Now, there's a buzz around the office once again.
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I don't just enjoy working here—I absolutely love it. After spending over 12 years in operations, it's the people I work alongside that make each day special. They've become like family to me, and coming to work feels more like catching up with friends than anything else.

The company has always supported my growth and provided opportunities, even when I stepped into a predominantly male department as an Airport Coordinator. It was a bit of a shock to the system for them at first, but we quickly formed strong relationships, and now they can't imagine the team without me.

While working in operations can be hectic, the company's support for rostering ensures we have a good work-life balance. I'd wholeheartedly recommend working here—I've even convinced a former colleague to come back!

One thing I think could be improved is how the company recognizes long-serving employees. A laminated certificate doesn't quite cut it for those who've been with the company for over a decade. But I do appreciate the avenues we have for providing feedback, like staff surveys and "Matt's Mailbox" at Town Halls.

What makes Cairns Airport such a great place to work? It's the people, hands down.

In a nutshell, I love working here because of the amazing team I'm surrounded by and the ever-changing nature of operations. 

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Julie Sercombe - Executive Assistant for Chief Operating Officer, Cairns and Mackay Airport

In 2018, after working in the same organisation for 18 years, I came across a job advertisement for a role at Mackay Airport. I was looking for a stable and secure job and thought this role ticked all the boxes. I was fortunate enough to join the North Queensland Airports (NQA) family in May of that year. Read More

I say family, because from day one I was welcomed like family. Despite a career change later in life, I was given every opportunity to learn new skills with the support of all the members in my team. It was a huge learning curve, but the support was always there.

During my time at NQA, I have been involved in many diverse projects including launching new airlines, launching new routes, improving customer experience, and helping the community. I can honestly say I feel like a valued member of the Mackay Airport and wider NQA team.

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Lucy Friend - Environment Manager, Cairns and Mackay Airports

I was born in Cairns in the 90s and was probably always going to end up back here working with the community and the environment. It’s not just a career for me, it’s something I’m passionate about and something I see becoming increasingly important to business and society. Read More

I decided that I wanted to be a scientist when I was 19. I was volunteering in a children’s home in West Africa and found an old chemistry textbook in a donation pile. The kids did not have much interest in the book, but I found it fascinating. I was spending so much time trying to help people that were sick because their environment was sick, and I wanted to do more about the cause of the issues we all face as a society.

I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Management at James Cook University. The course offered a Professional Placement elective, and I was the successful applicant of a short, unpaid contract as the Environment Assistant at Cairns Airport. By the end of that year, I had graduated with an academic medal and was offered a 12-month position at Cairns Airport as the fill-in Environment Coordinator. Nine years on, I manage the environment department for Cairns and Mackay Airports, and I am a director and vice chair of the board at Terrain NRM. In a volunteer capacity, I also work for Lifeline as a crisis supporter (suicide hotline and disaster relief), with children in foster care through the Pyjama Foundation, and with various wildlife organisations to rescue, raise and release injured and orphaned native animals.

To this day, I’m surrounded by people who inspire me, support me, and believe in what I’m doing, and for that I’m truly grateful.

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Sandy Rees - Retail Coordinator, Cairns Airport

Working at Cairns Airport has been an incredible journey filled with reasons to smile every day. At first, I was drawn to the opportunity to be part of such a significant organization in Cairns, but little did I know how much I would come to love the aviation industry. The atmosphere at Cairns Airport is like being part of a big family. Everyone, from staff to management, works together seamlessly, making each day feel special. Read More

What I adore most about working here is the buzz of energy that surrounds the airport. From seeing families off on dream vacations to witnessing heartwarming reunions, there's never a dull moment. Collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders while learning the ins and outs of airport operations has been both rewarding and exciting.

During my time here, I've been fortunate to grow both personally and professionally. What started as a temporary gig has turned into 13 years of amazing experiences, thanks to the opportunities to take on new roles and projects. And even though juggling work and family life can be tough, Cairns Airport makes it easier with its support for work-life balance and flexibility.

I can't recommend joining the Cairns Airport family enough. It's not just about exciting business here; it's about the fantastic opportunities and the wonderful people you'll meet. The airport truly values its employees, celebrating achievements big and small. Plus, they're always open to feedback and ideas, making you feel heard and appreciated.

In the end, Cairns Airport isn't just a workplace—it's a warm, welcoming community where you'll find growth, connection, and a genuine sense of belonging. It's a place where you can thrive both personally and professionally, and I'm grateful every day to be part of it.

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Gus Magalhaes - ICT Senior Business Analyst, Cairns and Mackay Airport

When I moved from Sydney 12 years ago, I didn't expect my temporary relocation to work with enterprise data software at Cairns Airport to turn into a long-term commitment. Initially, I was attracted by the opportunity to work on sophisticated data systems, something I was passionate about and found stimulating. Read More

When I moved from Sydney 12 years ago, I didn't expect my temporary relocation to work with enterprise data software at Cairns Airport to turn into a long-term commitment. Initially, I was attracted by the opportunity to work on sophisticated data systems, something I was passionate about and found stimulating.

Over the years, the company culture has evolved, but it has always been a positive place to work. People here are friendly and kind, and that's something I've always appreciated. 

What I enjoy most about my role is the chance to tell stories with data, reverse engineer data sets, and solve complex problems while building innovative solutions. Collaborating with my team is incredibly rewarding. I love seeing how my team members tackle problems in totally different ways than I would. It’s this diversity of thought and approach that makes our team strong.

In my 12 years with the company, I've had numerous opportunities for growth and development. I've received several pay increases and have taken on leadership responsibilities, with team members reporting to me. The company has definitely supported my professional development.

When it comes to work-life balance, I believe the company strikes a good balance. Overall, people are quite patient and set realistic expectations, which is important to me.

If you’re considering joining the company, I can tell you it’s a great workplace with great people. If you get an opportunity to work at the airport, take it. The company does a good job of recognizing and celebrating employee achievements through promotions and various events.

Employees are also encouraged to provide feedback and contribute ideas for improvement. The company provides 360 surveys as well as town halls, and people seem open to feedback, which fosters an inclusive and responsive atmosphere

For me, Cairns Airport (and Mackay Airport) is a fantastic place to work. We have a great coffee machine, a wonderful city, a great culture, nice people, and of course, the pay is good.

I came to the airport 12 years ago with the intention to stay for 2 years and then move back to Sydney. It's been 12 years!

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