Aviation Media Logo

OTHER ARTICLES Last modified on August 23, 2018

People Matters

Richard Plenty and Terri Morrissey provide their thoughts on how airports can attract employees.

Why would anyone be attracted to work in your airport? In a fast-growing industry where on average the number of passengers has been doubling every fifteen years, finding sufficient people of the right calibre can be quite a challenge.

Take Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland, for example. Since 2009, a boom in tourism and connecting low cost flights has resulted in a fivefold increase in passenger numbers, from approximately two million to ten million passengers per year, and a doubling in the demand for staff – in a country with a population of less than 350,000.

How are airports tackling this issue?
Well, it’s important that they are well run and have the basics in place. They need to be clear on their vision, values and ‘employer brand’.

They have to work out the kind of people and skills they need to attract. Their pay and conditions must be competitive. Most importantly, they need to be able to articulate their ‘employee value proposition’ – what it is they have to offer to potential employees.

Describing the expectations, excitement and challenges of working in airports is one side of the coin. Developing a better understanding of people’s expectations and aspirations in terms of, for example, personal development, flexibility, societal contribution and preferred style of working, is the other.

Keflavik Airport has taken this approach seriously. It has peak staffing requirements in operations over summer months and realised these needs could be met by students working over their vacation.

It has ‘reached out’ to schools, colleges and universities and built strong relationships with these institutions and their students. Recruitment programmes now fit in with college timetables, communal transport is provided (the ‘sleep bus’), and tailored social and health offerings have been developed.

In return the students have performed responsibly. Those who do well are invited back the next year. Some will become long-term employees.

Organisations also need to pay attention to ensuring that the ‘employee experience’, the overall perception that employees have about the totality of their experience at work, is a positive as possible.

How best to go about this will always depend on the specific circumstances of the organisation, the type of work and the people involved, but we have developed our own check list of items which we have found are usually important. Check out your E numbers!

  • Empathy: understand what people are looking for at work
  • Encouraging: consider people as individuals with diverse needs
  • Expectations: make expectations clear on all sides
  • Engaging: ensure work is interesting and challenging
  • Empowering: give people responsibility
  • Education: provide learning and development opportunities
  • Evidence: agree targets, review and reward
  • Experimenting: encourage creativity and innovation
  • Enthusiasm: more important than skill which can be learned
  • Equity: treat people fairly

Understand where people are coming from, adjust your offerings, make sure the employee experience is fulfilling, and make your airport attractive to potential employees.

Arrivals and departures

Dr Michael Kerkloh will serve a second term as ACI Europe’s president following his re-election at the organisation’s recent General Congress in Brussels. He said “I would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in me. This is an interesting time in our industry and the wider air transport sector. Robust growth and yet, significant and fast-emerging risks. I’m not just talking about the usual cyclical nature of air transport, but also the volatile geopolitical situation, the disruption happening to the retail and other non-aeronautical revenues in our business and regulatory risk from the aggressive campaigning by airlines on the aero-revenue side. All of which means that ACI Europe has a lot of work on its plate.”

Gudny Langgaard is the new CEO of Vágar Airport in the Faroe Islands. She takes over from Jákup Sverri Kass who left in November 2017. Vágar is the only airport in the remote self-governing archipelago and home-base for Faroese national airline, Atlantic Airways.

The chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region has elected to extend Jack So Chak-kwong’s position as chairman of the Board of Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) for another three years. He said: “The next few years will be critical to the development of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) as a series of strategic expansion and enhancements are underway, including the Three-runway System construction, SKYCITY, cargo development and smart airport initiatives.”

The shareholders of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport have appointed Charles Champion to take over from Anne-Marie Idrac as chair of the Supervisory Board.

 

About the authors

Dr Richard Plenty is managing director of This Is… and runs the ACI World Airport Human Resources programme. Terri Morrissey is chairperson of This Is… and CEO of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Contact them through

Share on social media

Article Options

Related items

Get the Airport World Newsletter!

Email
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
Follow us on Twitter

8009 peoples are following airportworldmag