THERE was a flurry of activity in apartment E of Number 9 Headland Road, South Bay on Thursday evening. While the Provisional Airport Authority was announcing from its plush suites in the new Central Plaza building in Wan Chai that Mr Richard Allen was leaving his job, he was hurriedly packing his bags and leaving the luxury flat with a sea view that came with the position. Mr Allen's Filipino domestic helper since last December said yesterday he had not been back after leaving the residence with a few belongings on Thursday night. The maid, who refused to give her name, said: ''Mr Allen came home, packed the things in a rush and went out carrying some luggage. ''He said he was going out for a while but I have not heard from him since then. ''He didn't tell me when he would be back. ''In fact, I only learned that he had been replaced in his job when I read the South China Morning Post.'' Five pieces of luggage and a few small cartons were scattered around the living room yesterday, as if in preparation for departure. The maid said she believed Mr Allen would probably be away for several days to avoid the media. Describing him as hard-working and friendly, she said: ''He usually leaves for work before 8 am and returns by about 9.30 pm. And very often he brings some paperwork back home. ''It is sad that he has left his position,'' she said, without offering any indication of what might be happening to her own job.