Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2019 Contents AsianAviation | May 2019 29
ACI ASIA-PACIFIC/WORLD AGM
ACI’s Gittens. “ The most efficient mitigation may well be to leverage
our own airport communities. The vast majority of airport workers
are well-intentioned. We need to ensure that the security culture is
strong and that staff are motivated to perform well, are willing to
challenge others and to be challenged.
ACI also announced in Hong Kong that it has developed two
programmes that are designed to help airports promote service
excellence and improve customer experience. ACI has developed
the Airport Customer Experience Accreditation programme, which
offers a common definition and framework for customer experience
management, and the Airport Customer Experience Professional
Designation Programme for airport employees.
The accreditation programme is part of ACI’s Airport Service Qual-
ity (ASQ) programme. It will help airports improve their practices to
promote a direct positive impact on customer satisfaction. Six airports
contributed to the development of the programme and have been rec-
ognised as the first to be accredited: Abu Dhabi International Airport,
Milan Malpensa Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, San Antonio
International Airport, Sydney Airport, and Quito International Airport.
The Airport Customer Experience Professional Designation Pro-
gramme has been developed for airports subscribing to the new
accreditation programme. As part of the accreditation process, each
airport must nominate a number of employees to take the course so
that they have a clear understanding of customer experience and
are competent to lead the airport in terms of customer experience
The Customer Experience Professional Designation requires
each participant to receive continuing professional development
and re-certification in order to maintain active certification status.
Re-certification is performed every five years and participants will
be required to complete appropriate activities in order to maintain
local fast-food joint. In our industry, a certified and trained Stripe Hog
Operator is a professional tradesman. We have provided them with a
high degree of technical know-how and hands-on training on complex
systems. This makes them a valuable and sought-after employee.
There is no shortage of highly motivated young folks who can do
the jobs that are available; In Asia, the hiring systems, the vocational
training systems, and the way employers assign worth and value to
the output or contributions of their young, entry-level employees
needs to change. Incentivising employees to do better, rewarding
initiative and consistently good performance are not typical company
behaviours here. Aviation expansion offers one of the fastest-growing
markets for a host of entry-level jobs, from airfield maintenance and
GSE support personnel to Landside Operations, Terminal Operations
and the thousands of peripheral jobs that airports create.
AAV: You mentioned that HOG relies on sales agents and not many
full-time staff (for sales at least). How easy or difficult is it to run this
sort of a virtual sales operation? Give us an idea of the people involved.
JG: I come from a background of building highly skilled teams of mo-
tivated professionals and equipping them for independent action and
success. In the military, it is critical that every member of the team is
adept at all the other team member ’s roles and can step up to the plate
and take charge as needed. I try to find people that can be flexible in
a non-traditional work environment, have great people skills and a
high degree of ‘likeability ’ and are innovative and can take initiative.
They don’t need to be great at sales...I can teach those skills easily...
but they do have to have the ability to converse comfortably with folks
from the minister of aviation down to the lowest-paid maintenance guy.
The challenge I face is running ops across every time zone and often
on the fly. I rely heavily on the Internet, email, texts and lots and lots of
WeChat and WhatsApp hours. The best thing about having great people
who can operate independently is that most communications are just
check-ins, status updates and brainstorming...because they solve their
own problems. Key to all our success is that we have a super-talented
crew back at HQ that we lean on for admin support, marketing support,
product info, setting up shows, travel, campaigns, sending out e-blasts
and viral videos, etc. The inside sales staff are the real superstars.
AAV: Start to finish, how long is a “normal” sale or tendering process? And we’re
talking million-dollar-plus machines , right?
JG: So, for a typical large airport system, with all the peripherals, extended war-
ranty, service plans, spares and consumables, built on a locally-approved and
supportable commercial chassis...yes, we are looking at close to US$1 million.
So, the sales cycle for these systems can be up to 30 months long; from the first
introductory meeting with the airport maintenance officials and administration,
to the technical reviews which can take two or three meetings, demonstrations,
writing specifications, getting budgetary approval (another two to three meetings
usually), and then the tender opens...and sometimes they are cancelled, or we
are the only qualified bidder, or something occurs we never find out about, but
it’s back to square one. I prefer capital expenditure funding for our systems; in
my opinion, these systems should be treated as emergency airfield equipment
and should be able to be obtained via capex versus tender.
AAV: You mentioned some of your background; former military, husband, chil-
dren, advanced degrees, etc. Did you always want to be in international sales
or was this something that just came up and you found yourself liking it?
JG: I am most proud of being a husband and father, working as a journalist,
teaching and serving my country in the military. I like traveling, meeting people
and experiencing new and interesting things. So, working in the international
sales arena has afforded me the privilege of meeting many amazing people
and working to bring solutions to their challenges across this beautiful world. I
didn’t think this was where my trajectory would take me, but I couldn’t imagine
doing anything else now.
AAV: Would you recommend a career like yours to a young person today?
JG: If I could get in a time machine and travel back to talk with ‘young John’,
I would tell him to find those experiences and do those things that lead to
personal happiness...never do a job for a paycheck, but don’t do a job you
love without getting paid. Sales is the only profession that allows a young
person to have potentially uncapped earning potential and be able to cre-
ate personal wealth and security at a relatively young age. Being a sales
professional gives a person a tremendous skillset across the board...skills
that translate into all aspects of being: Confidence, education, relationships,
accountability, competitiveness, ambition and self-respect and self-aware-
ness, to name a few.
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