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Meet Chantal Lévesque, Duty Manager

03 aug

YQB is an unusual and dynamic workplace, and we wouldn’t be able to run our operations so efficiently without the people who work tirelessly for us. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on the heroes who work behind the scenes but are always on the alert and ready to act: our duty managers (DM).

Through this portrait of the inspiring Chantal Lévesque, a duty manager since June 2015, you’ll learn about this unique job, which is essential to keep airport operations running smoothly.


How long have you been working at YQB? And how long have you been a DM?

I have been working at YQB since September 2013. I started as a Passenger Experience agent. I’ve been in the position of Duty Manager since June 2015.

Why did you decide to come to work at YQB?

I lived in Toronto for over 17 years, and I first entered the aviation industry as a flight attendant for an airline at the Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). I really loved the work environment. When I returned to Quebec I wanted to stay in the industry, and YQB was the perfect place to do that. I started as a Passenger Experience agent and quickly worked my way up to the position of Duty Manager. After working on flights and in passenger service in the terminal, I wanted to learn more about airport operations. Duty Manager was THE position to get a global view of the daily operations of the airport.

In three sentences, define your responsibilities at YQB.

I’m the contact person and airport authority for any problem or situation that may arise related to airport operations. My primary responsibility is to manage emergencies from the Emergency Coordination Center: things like aircraft in difficulty, evacuation of the terminal, bomb threats and so on. I’m also responsible for ensuring smooth operations (assigning loading bridges for aircraft parking, crowd control, exceptional situations, etc.).

What does your typical work day or night look like?

I work 12 hour shifts, day or night. At the start of the shift, I lead a meeting with the various airport departments to develop a game plan for the hours ahead and to discuss the potential issues and activities of the day. Then I prepare my work tools: computer systems, radios, cameras, phones and so on. Next, I attend a daily meeting on Teams with managers from other Canadian airports to assess the weather forecast and plan for possible diversions due to the conditions. I also issue NOTAMs (notice to airmen) to advise pilots of any runway or taxiway closures. Basically, I make sure that everything runs smoothly across the entire airport site.

What has been your greatest moment or accomplishment as a DM?

Anything that requires a lot of planning and logistics, such as the G7 in 2018 or the Pope’s recent visit, to name just a few. 

Can you tell us what you like most about your environment or workplace?

It’s totally unpredictable. No two days are the same, and it’s not a monotonous routine. It’s a fast-paced operating environment where I learn new things every day.

What is your fondest memory at YQB?

Military arrivals. Children, families and even pets eagerly awaiting their loved ones, followed by long-awaited hugs, marriage proposals, tears of joy... It’s so beautiful. It warms my heart every time.

If you had one piece of advice for someone who would like to do the job you do, what would it be?

Don’t neglect your sleep. Working nights is demanding, and it can be tempting to cut back on sleep on a beautiful sunny day. You need to have all your wits for this job so you can make decisions quickly with the information available at the time. You can do it all more effectively after a good night’s sleep. I would also say that the job demands a lot of adaptation. You have to be flexible and not be afraid of ambiguity.

As a pro, do you have any travel tips or tricks for passengers?

Travel light and don’t check in luggage. Download the airline and border services applications and fill out your declaration before arriving in the country. It makes the process easier and faster.


To find out about all the jobs available at the airport, visit our Careers page.