VLM Airlines has named one of its aircraft in memory of a cabin crew member from Liverpool, who sadly passed away shortly after being nominated as a ‘Flying Hero’. In December 2004 VLM Airlines launched a unique employee reward scheme called ‘Our Flying Hero’. The scheme was set up to recognise exceptional staff with the exclusive reward of having a VLM aircraft named after them for a two-month period. Both customers and employees can nominate VLM personnel for the award and the scheme is based on a number of qualities shown by the individual, such as teamwork, motivation and customer excellence. Irene Watkin had been nominated by a number of her colleagues for her enthusiasm and happy nature. It was not only Irene’s colleagues who nominated her, many passengers who had read about the ‘Flying Hero’ programme also nominated Irene, for her helpfulness, friendliness and positive attitude.
The aircraft was christened in the company of Irene’s husband, family, close friends, colleagues, delegates of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and VLM management. Her husband, Damian Watkin, took the honour of spraying the aircraft with champagne, a tradition at VLM Airlines when new names are chosen.
After naming the aircraft Damian Watkin commented: “There is no better way to remember Irene, she always loved her job and will now be remembered in a very special way by passengers and colleagues alike.” He continued “I’m also very grateful to VLM Airlines in allowing us to celebrate her nomination together with friends and family.”
The name, ‘Spirit of Reenstar’, which was suggested by Irene’s colleagues at Liverpool John Lennon Airport where she was widely known as ‘Reenstar’, will remain on the Fokker 50 aircraft for one year.