Airport ‘Blue Angels’ Celebrate 15th Birthday

One of Cairns Airport’s most beloved and essential services will be celebrated today after reaching a significant milestone.

Volunteers from the highly successful Airport Ambassador program will get together over cake and lunch to acknowledge 15 years on the job.

The team of ‘Blue Angels’ is often praised by visitors to the region for their warm, welcoming demeanours and exceptional customer service in the terminals.

Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Richard Barker said the Airport Ambassadors played a vital role on the ground.

“Our volunteers do far more than just provide directions,” he said.

“They are quite often the first faces visitors see when they land in Cairns, and their assistance and smiles can really set the tone for the region.”

“Many of our volunteers are also local to the Far North and often share their experiences and recommendations with travellers, which is invaluable. We are all grateful for the exceptional service they provide daily.”

The program has been operating since 2007 and has more than tripled in size to about 30 volunteers in 2022.

Airport Ambassador Supervisor Robyne Snelling, a former air hostess and travel agent, said volunteers in the team came from a variety of backgrounds, from hotel workers and secretaries to restaurant owners, pool technicians, nurses, teachers and more.

“They are very proud of Cairns,” she said.

“They want to help people and tell them about our region and how diverse it is.”

“Whenever passengers need assistance, you will see these blue angels come to help. What we try to do is turn frowns into smiles.”

The volunteer group has witnessed a number of changes to the airport over the past 15 years, including upgrades to the domestic terminal.

The most recent refurbishment included the construction of an information desk in the departures lounge, providing a purpose-built space for the ambassadors to help passengers.

Marg Hobson, who is married to a retired pilot, has been with the program since its inception 15 years ago. She began volunteering as an ambassador after retiring from her role in the Department of Justice.

“I saw a little ad in the newspaper and thought, that looks like something interesting,” Mrs Hobson said.

“I wanted to be involved in something where you could give back.”

Mrs Hobson said the best thing about being an ambassador was meeting so many interesting people. She has seen many notable figures through the terminal over the years, including former Prime Minister John Howard and many world leaders during Queensland’s first G20 event in Cairns in 2014.

“No two shifts are ever the same,” she said.

“The backpackers are wonderful. They are like sponges, they want to know about everything here, and they have some wonderful tales to tell.”