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Celebrating International Women's Day

Category: Voyager Released: 08 March 2017

We celebrate International Women's Day 2017 by highlighting a few of the many indivuduals who make a difference to the operations of AirTanker, the Voyager and the people behind it.


Alex Vipond - Staff Welfare Manager

Being away from loved ones through work is never an easy experience, looking after the welfare of our people around the world is the priority for Staff Welfare Manager Alex Vipond.

There are plenty of subjects that find their way into Alex’s in-tray under the broad heading of staff welfare. It could be the standard of accommodation on Ascension Island, a desire for better recreation facilities at RAF Akrotiri, ground transportation issues or the support provided to families back home.

Alex’s role, working in close partnership with the Voyager Project Team, is to make sure that the experience of working down-route whether as a civilian, military crew or Sponsored Reservist is as comfortable and hassle-free as possible. The second strand of Alex’s role is to gradually improve the support offered to close family back home. It’s not just crews and engineers who can struggle with separation; the same goes for families back at home. A staff welfare committee helps to gauge the views of employees about the types of assistance that would be valued. 

"The overall goal is to create parity at all locations, where operationally possible and a guaranteed standard that all colleagues can expect, regardless of their destination."


Charlotte Harrison - Head of Commercial Management

Over the past year, the seven-strong Commercial Management team has successfully concluded two important contractual negotiations with the MoD.

Charlotte Harrison, Head of Commercial Management, explains: “Our role is two-fold: to strengthen the commercial success of the business and to make sure that ATrS is meeting its contractual obligations and providing the right level of support to MoD operations."

Although ATrS has always had a Commercial Management function, the team has doubled in size in the past three years as the number of contractual changes has grown. The launch of the Leasing business has also added another dimension to the team’s work.

“We are responsible for generating proposals and for negotiating contracts with the MoD and other customers. This could involve a contract change or an additional service. We’re also the hub of expertise within the business on all contractual issues, providing guidance to colleagues.”

This contractual expertise is vital. The Voyager/FSTA programme contract with the MoD is in fact a suite of documents stretching to thousands of pages. “If people come to us with a very specific question, we need to be able to pinpoint exactly where it is covered within the contract.

"The demands for leasing are a completely different scenario because we're creating contracts in a new area of business from scratch.  Every customer is different, but it's exciting."



Squadron Leader Claire Evans - Executive Officer Force Support

From ensuring the welfare of RAF personnel embedded with ATrS through to managing recruitment, promotion and military discipline, the Voyager Force Support team provides a vital link between the military and civilian environments. Operating under the command of Officer Commanding No. 10 Squadron, the team is led by Squadron Leader Claire Evans who is XO (Executive Officer) Force Support.


"There are many aspects to the role of Force Support and it continues to be a unique working environment. It is our responsibility to ensure that our embedded RAF personnel and sponsored reservists are fully supported throughout their career development and everyday life."

"Recruitment is also a significant part of our role and we work hard to ensure that we bring on board personnel of a high standard who are suitable to work within the Voyager's dynamic and challenging environment."

Squadron Leader Evans also holds the position of Deputy Continuing Airworthiness Manager. Rigorous airworthiness processes are, of course, fundamental to safe operations for Voyager and the fact that the aircraft flies on both the Military and Civil Aircraft Registers means that the Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) function is particularly significant as a conduit between the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations and those that govern military flying.


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