Emirates airport meet looks to lounges

To keep pace with rapid growth, Emirates Airline’s airport managers and executives recently converged in Dubai to share ideas and plan ahead for new challenges. More than 100 airport managers and senior executives from Emirates’ global network attended a three-day conference, which focused on the need to maintain excellent and consistent customer service on the ground, while improving efficiency by working successfully as a team.

Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said:

‘We are entering the most rapid phase of our expansion as we invest in the future and shape the company into a global carrier. Emirates expects to carry some 33 million passengers annually by 2012, and we have to ensure that as the airline grows, we continue to maintain high standards of customer service, and not lose the personal touch.’

Emirates Airport Services includes the following key operating departments, Check-in & Boarding, First and Business Class Lounges, Special Services, (assisting disabled passengers and unaccompanied minors), Baggage Services, the Millennium Airport Hotel (EK Wing) and Customer Relations.

Dale Griffith, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Airport Services, said, ‘Airport services play a major role in the overall customer experience. Check-in at the airport is often the first contact our customers have with staff, and it is also the start of their travel experience with Emirates. We want to maximise each opportunity to live up to the commitment that Emirates has made to its passengers in giving them a superior and outstanding travel experience.

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‘In times of immense and rapid growth, delivering a high-quality service on the ground while ensuring operations run smoothly becomes an even bigger challenge. Every detail, from check-in, baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, loading and catering, and passenger flow - all need to be looked at carefully. Most importantly, we have to innovate and keep abreast of our customers’ needs and expectations.’

To maintain its leading edge, Emirates invests in new infrastructure and facilities, as well as continuous training for its frontline service teams. It also encourages staff to recommend new ways to improve service and efficiency through incentive schemes.

One of the division’s major projects is the development and roll-out of Emirates Lounges for premium passengers and frequent flyers at key gateways around Emirates’ global network. These lounges, manned by dedicated Emirates staff, are a key service differentiator as it allows the airline to extend to its valued customers the same high-quality Emirates experience and service on the ground, as they enjoy in the air.

Since 2004, Emirates has inaugurated nine lounges across its network. Luxuriously-appointed Emirates Lounges are now serving travellers in New York JFK, Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Gatwick, Auckland, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Munich and Frankfurt, in addition to the airline’s award-winning lounges in Dubai Airport. Emirates’ multi million investment will see some six more Emirates Lounges opened across the network in the near future. The Emirates Lounge in Perth also recently won the ‘Australian Interior Fit Out of the Year for 2005/2006’ award.

Over the three-day conference, a range of presentations and interactive sessions showcased Emirates Airport Services’ emphasis on continued service excellence and quality customer care in preparation of the new customised Emirates A380 product, including facilities at the currently under-construction Terminal Three at Dubai International Airport, which will be dedicated to Emirates’ passengers.

Achievements were also recognised, with awards to staff teams which had delivered outstanding service or operational turn-around times. Nine stations, out of 84 Airport Services stations worldwide, were singled out and honoured for long and short haul turn around time performance; Paris Charles de Gaulle was given a special achievement award for changing terminals, opening the Emirates lounge and changing handling agent all on one day.

The Perth Airport Services team were awarded for developing a personalized letter to all first class customers with welcome to the lounge outlining flight details and the Singapore team was awarded for developing a quick reference booklet summarizing the main procedures in the case of a flight disruption.
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