60 seconds with Doncaster Sheffield’s Ray Wood


Having spent 20 years working with airlines, Ray has taken up the role of head of cargo at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. He opens up to Air Cargo Week about golf, VW Golfs, and where not to buy a car. He is not to blame for what is possibly the most annoying Christmas pop song ever written.

ACW: Are you excited to be taking on this new role?

Wood: I am extremely excited to be taking on this new role for the positive challenges that have come about. There is scope for so much development here that it can only be a positive move.

ACW: Has it been an easy transition moving from an airline to an airport role?

Wood: I wasn’t expecting an easy transition and it has brought about its own personal challenges such as working in the north and living in the south. On the other hand it does allow me to easily visit a number of customers. Other challenges have been taking on a new type of role outside of my regular comfort zone. But that is what I wanted to do, to step out of my comfort zone, but I’ve brought with me length of experience and lots of transferable skills.

ACW: Would you recommend a career in aviation? And more specifically in air cargo?

Wood: I would most definitely recommend a career in this industry. This industry is often overlooked and there are so many aspects toward aviation that can suit many individual skills. It’s gender neutral, irrespective of which role you follow, and I would heartily champion young blood into the business. And cargo, well cargo is for life and I will bore anyone within hearing distance about it, so most definitely cargo!

ACW: If you had not pursued a career in aviation, what career path would you have liked to have taken?

Wood: As a youngster, I was very keen in animal welfare and if I hadn’t have taken this path, I may have been the predecessor to Dr Noel Fitzpatrick! I didn’t do a degree in veterinary surgery, but animal welfare is something I feel strongly about.

ACW: What is the most interesting fact about you that we would not know from your CV?

Wood: My CV quotes that I like playing golf, and I’ve been told by several people that I have the perfect temperate for the game, since I’m awful but I never get upset by my poor shot, always thinking the next one will be better – the eternal optimist!

ACW: You walk out of your office and find a lottery ticket that wins you £10 million, what would you do?

Wood: First, I would try and find the rightful owner, it’s not mine to take that also comes down to the money. If I was the legitimate owner of a win, then great, but if I had found it, I would ensure that I dispense various amounts to charities, although a finder’s fee would be nice. Charities that I feel strongly about are Cancer research, animal welfare, the children’s air ambulance operating from DSA and charities that support hidden disabilities, and the homeless.

ACW: What was your first flight? And did you enjoy the experience?

Wood: It was in 1989 flying British Midland’s diamond class between London Heathrow and Liverpool Speke, before it was John Lennon, which is now a Peel airport. I loved every moment of it, especially as it was a business trip on behalf of the head office of an organisation I worked for, so they paid for it. I would have been 18 at the time so an amazing experience.

ACW: If you were a car, what would you be and why?

Wood: I’ve given this some thought and the expectation is that I’d name some piece of exotica, but I’m not going to do that although I am a lover of British classic cars. If I was a car, I would be a VW Golf, because it appeals to all classes, genres and is reliable, well-engineered, dependable and it has golf in the title, with a fair bit of speed if pushed!

ACW: If ACW were to come around for dinner, what meal would you prepare?

Wood: I wouldn’t be preparing a meal I’d be using my finder’s fee from the lottery ticket, hire a professional chef and they would make the meal a surprise.

ACW: Beer or wine?

Wood: Beer with friends, wine with company.

ACW: Football or rugby?

Wood: Both, although I’m deterred by many of the football players’ antics on and off the pitch and the fan base of teams right now. Rugby wise, I’m a Quins fan and I prefer the banter that’s exchanged between Rugby Union fans, oh and that I can have a beer in the stands whilst watching the matches.

ACW: Uber or taxi?

Wood: Uber.

ACW: Dogs or cats?

Wood: I err towards dogs but I’m an animal lover overall.

ACW: What was your best and worst purchases?

Wood: My best is easily an engagement ring for my fiancée who is now my wife and best friend for over 23 years. Worst purchase is a tatty old Escort XR3i I bought from a geezer in a car park.

ACW: What would the name of your autobiography be?

Wood: I would say something like ‘Trying to find the Wood for the trees’ a play on my surname. Or, ‘I’m not fed-up with Christmas, you’ve got the wrong guy’ which is reference to the many people thinking it hilarious to mistake me for the lead singer of Wizzard, when it’s Ray, not Roy, and Ray Wood who is a former goal keeper who played for Manchester United!