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Mon 13 October 2014
LEADING AIRPORTS CONFERENCE GETS UNDERWAY IN DURBAN

South Africa, Durban, 13 October 2014 – The 23rd Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Regional Assembly hosted by Airports Company South Africa, officially commenced today, with industry executives and decision makers focusing on the importance of service excellence and how it contributes to enhanced customer experience and profitability. The gathering of government representatives and airport leaders also placed the spotlight on the biggest outbreak of the Ebola virus to date.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Lydia, Sindisiwe Chikunga, started by reiterating the South African government’s unwavering support of ACI member countries battling the virus, and expressed its commitment to minimising the spread across borders.

“We are excited that the timing of the conference coincides with October, our Transport Month in South Africa, where all modes of transportation from aviation to rail, road and maritime feature prominently in our national calendar. The South African Government has a well-defined strategy to drive regional co-operation across the African continent. To that end, the government has entered into a number of bilateral agreements aimed at strengthening both diplomatic and economic relations between countries in the region. These agreements were primarily forged in order to drive and promote inter-regional trade, cooperation and interdependency to ultimately achieve economic development,” explained Chikunga.

This is the third time the event is hosted in South Africa and it encompasses an assembly, a conference and an exhibition. ACI Africa has 59 members in Africa operating 251 airports. In 2012, these airports collectively handled 153 million passengers, 1,795 tonnes of air cargo and over 2.5 million aircraft movements. Operating as the voice of African airports, ACI Africa represents the interests of its members and works with governments and international industry bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to develop standards, policies and recommended practices for airports, so that they can improve their quality of professional service and better serve their communities.

Ali Tounsi, Secretary General, ACI Africa: “There are large discrepancies across the continent with some very high and low levels of service and standards. There are various reasons, some of which can be partly attributed to different cultures, languages and geographical dimensions of countries. A big challenge is also the issue of safety with the African continent having the worst safety ranking in the world. With so much likely to happen economically in Africa over the next few years, airports will play a hugely important role and need to be given priority attention if they are to help the continent realise its undoubted potential.” 

As part of a panel discussion during the course of the day, airport leaders deliberated issues ranging from understanding service quality, service excellence in airports to profitability of service excellence and how regional airports can collaborate to enhance passenger experience. Other focus areas include global trends affecting airports and how changes in the aviation industry impact the airport eco-system. The exhibition covers a wide range of service-related issues affecting African airports and their clientele.

Bongani Maseko, Airports Company South Africa Chief Executive Officer: “As a custodian of multiple award-winning airports across the country, service excellence is paramount to the sustainability and reputation of Airports Company South Africa. The theme for the 23rd Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Region Annual Assembly, Conference and Exhibition – Service Excellence: Key to the Future – resonates with the customer-centricity ethos that Airports Company South Africa embraces. Airports Company South Africa has always been proactive in achieving service excellence in line with its strategy to build an efficient and effective customer-focussed business. To this end, the company has been one of the founding members on the ACI-Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme in 2006. Airports can achieve this by continually conducting independent research to determine the needs of passengers and how to best meet their requirements. It is therefore imperative that collaboration between Airports Company South Africa and its stakeholders is strengthened.”

“The objective of this event is to exchange ideas and share knowledge and insights on how best the industry can improve the service levels we render to our customers. Air travel reduces commuting timelines and connects different countries in the region. Our passengers need to have a common experience regarding levels of service across the region and this is what the industry needs to strive towards,” concluded Tounsi.

For more information, visit www.aci-africa.aero

For media enquiries related to this release, please contact:
Unathi Batyashe-Fillis
Airports Company South Africa Spokesperson
Direct: +27 (0) 11 921 6087
Cell: +27 (0) 79 882 7307
Email: unathi.Batyashe-Fillis@airports.co.za

Categories: Passengers
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