Potential revenue from non-aeronautical services will continue to elude the Nigerian aviation industry until airports in the nation prioritize customer satisfaction and put extra effort into improving travelers’ experiences.
Yesterday, aviation stakeholders reached this conclusion, stating that although they necessitate teamwork and the application of technology, non-aeronautical services are just as crucial as aeronautical ones.
Customer experience specialist Ekelem Airhihen remarked that customer service and satisfaction are two major end goals for contemporary airports internationally when speaking at the inauguration of the Airports and Airlines Business Summit and Expo 2022 in Lagos.
According to Airhihen, the focus was not unrelated to a 2016 Airports Council International (ACI) study that found that every 1% increase in customer satisfaction was associated with a 1.5% increase in non-aeronautical income.
Airport earnings from sources other than airlines are referred to as non-aeronautical revenues. They often include shops, stores, parking lots, homes, and other things around the airport. Non-aeronautical services are responsible for 40.2% of global aviation income in 2019, according to the ACI.
The downside, according to Airhihen, is that airports lose these earnings in areas where visitors are already anxious and impatient.
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 used to enhance the client experience, not for its own purpose. Using technology, Air Asia predicts that by 2024, non-flight-related services would account for nearly 50% of its revenue.
“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.
Funsho Adegoke, managing consultant at FCI, added that a 360-degree perspective of consumers is necessary for effective customer experience management, along with integrated, current data on customers’ accounts.
Adegoke declared: “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.”
Fortune Idu, the chairman of the organizing committee, stated that the summit’s focus was on how all sub-sectors of the air transportation services interacted with one another under the umbrella theme of “connecting 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.