IN THIS ENJOYABLE and informative memoir, Barry Lloyd looks back on an eventful period in the 1980s/90s during which he was a member of the salesforce for British Aerospace in their commercial aircraft division and later their corporate jet division.
The aircraft that Barry and his colleagues were responsible for selling were the BAe 748, the ATP and the BAe 146 and his allocated territories were South America, the Caribbean and parts of Europe.
Barry’s professional activities led him to many far-flung locations where he and his colleagues did their utmost to secure the business of a wide variety of customers.
Selling aeroplanes is fiercely competitive, of course, so wherever Barry and his BAe colleagues went they were up against robust competition from rival aircraft manufacturers prepared to use every trick in the book in order to secure the more lucrative contracts.
Consequently frustration and disappointment were often the aircraft salesman’s only reward, even after expensive demonstrations and lengthy negotiations with a potential customer, when the final buying decision was made in favour of a rival company. Such was the challenging nature of the industry but of course it also made winning a contract all the more enjoyable.
In the course of more than a decade as an aircraft salesman Barry had his share of triumphs and disappointments but even in those cases where he failed to secure a successful outcome, the often quirky and unusual places he visited and the colourful characters with whom he did business gave him plenty of entertaining stories to tell.
And this he does, with quiet good humour, in a narrative that provides a fascinating insight into an unusual occupation about which most members of the public know nothing.