Sky’s the limit for Lilibeth Horne after 46-year airport career

Tributes have been paid to one of Cork Airport’s longest serving employees who retires today.

Lilibeth Horne, the head of retail at The Loop in the airport, will clock out for the last time today after a 46-year career at Ireland’s second busiest airport.

In a warm personal tribute, airport managing director, Niall MacCarthy, praised Lilibeth for her long years of loyal service.

“I have always found Lilibeth to be a pleasure to work with,” he said. “She has driven our business forward tirelessly through good times and bad and has always had the best interests of Cork Airport and our staff and passengers at heart.

“I will miss her good humour, hard work and professionalism equally and I really do wish her well.”

One of Cork Airport’s most popular and respected figures, Ms Horne has spent her entire working life at the airport. She recalled how she fell in love with the facility when as a child, she was taken on family drives to the terminal where they enjoyed a lemonade in the bar and watched planes land. “That love affair has lasted 46 years,” she said.

She first worked in operations as a marketing officer, then as commercial manager, and finally moved to the position of head of retail.

“In my marketing role I was responsible for bringing new routes into and from Cork Airport to the UK and Europe,” she said.

“The role also handled big sponsorships for the airport and had a significant PR profile. I travelled from Iceland to the South of France and met some great people on my travels. I have seen the great milestone of one, two and three million passengers and have worked with some really great staff and colleagues in Aer Rianta, DAA and now Aer Rianta International.

“I was involved in bringing the first transatlantic flight from New York when we greeted the passengers with flowers, a band and Irish whiskey on the ramp.

“I spent 10 wonderful years in marketing but needed a new challenge and moved into the retail role.” She oversaw the retail operations in Cork and Shannon before Shannon was separated from the DAA. “The abolition of Duty Free within Europe was a challenging time for all airport retailers during the first six months in my new role,” she said.

“We had to go back to the drawing board for an exciting offer to appeal to the public after much trial and error The Loop brand was born and we haven’t looked back since.”

Sky’s the limit for Lilibeth Horne after 46-year airport career

During her career, she won several awards, including an Enterprising Business Women Award, a Retail Excellence Award, and a Retail Manager of The Year award in 2014. She even met her husband, Peter, thanks to the airport.

He was a pilot who was flying in and out of Cork Airport and romance blossomed. The couple have two daughters, Natasha and Bianca, and a one-year-old granddaughter, Sophia.

Ms Horne hopes to spend her retirement pursuing her love of attending the races, walking, and reading.

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