Until airports in the country prioritise customer satisfaction and make extra efforts to improve travellers’ experience, potential revenue from the non-aeronautical services will continue to elude the Nigerian aviation industry.
Aviation stakeholders gave this verdict, yesterday, saying the non-aeronautical services are as important as the aeronautical ones; though they require collective efforts and the use of technology.
Speaking at the opening of the Airports and Airlines Business Summit and Expo 2022 in Lagos, Customer Experience Specialist, Ekelem Airhihen, noted that customer service and satisfaction are two main end goals for modern airports globally.
Airhihen said the focus was not unconnected with a 2016 Airports Council International’s (ACI) study, which linked every one per cent increase in customer satisfaction to a 1.5 per cent spike in non-aeronautical revenues.
Non-aeronautical revenues are airport earnings from sources other than airlines. They typically include retail concessions, stores, car parks, property, real estate and others in the airport area. In 2019, according to the ACI, non-aeronautical services account for 40.2 per cent of global aviation revenue.
Airhihen noted that the flipside is that airports lose such revenues where travellers are already stressed and frustrated in the course of using
He said: “There is a renewed effort to avert that in modern airports. The most important element now is the use of technology to enhance the customer experience, which is a set of actions that involves all stakeholders within the airport value chain.
“Technology simplifies the customer service for ease and a better experience. It reduces the unpredictability of the air transport system.
Technology is not for its own sake but to improve customer experience. Using technology, Air Asia has projected that from 2024, about 50 per cent of its revenue will come from non-flight-related services.
“Indeed, customer experience does not just happen. It is created and based on the customers’ needs. Government needs to spend more on technology to improve the customer experience at airports nationwide,” Airhihen said.
Managing Consultant FCI, Funsho Adegoke, said further that successful customer experience management requires a 360-degree view of customers, with integrated up-to-date data on customers’ accounts.
Adegoke said: “Effective customer experience management assists companies and airlines to create a customer vision, put customers first and the heart of the business. Airlines and airport operators need to be proactive to stay ahead of the competition. All must be accountable and keep their promises to the customers,” Adegoke said.
Chairman of the Organising Committee, Fortune Idu, said the summit aimed to address the interrelationship among all sub-sectors of the air transportation services under the theme that aims to connect service delivery with customers’ expectations.
“We are looking at opportunities to promote an accelerated customer-driven post-pandemic industry recovery and offer a unique learning opportunity for common customer experience management and information sharing.
“The expo, which is part of the event is an industry window to the world for all services that are offered within the spheres of airport and airlines operations, this includes; travel and tourism services, airlines, handling, hangers, technologies solutions, food and beverages, lounges and general supplies to industry,” I said.