Get the Buzz with Airbiz
- 09 Sep 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has packed quite a punch to the aviation industry, with much of the sector’s activities coming to a grinding halt. This has not only impacted airlines and airports but also the many businesses supplying goods and services to the sector. One such business is Airbiz Aviation Strategies Pty Ltd, long-time World Business Partner of ACI Asia-Pacific.
The Regional Office’s head of communications and events, Jeannie Wong caught up with Airbiz’ Managing Director, Greg Fordham.
JW: You are based in Melbourne, Australia, but your team is spread over offices in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. How have you adapted your leadership and day-to-day interactions without in-person visits and what was the biggest challenge?
Airbiz staff from 10 global locations often work as a team on remote projects. Hence, we have been working virtually together long before the pandemic. However, face-to-face contact is vital for effective teams and so we have always met together once or twice a year. This past June, the team was booked to go to Vanuatu for our annual Airbiz Forum, where we would participate in activities with Airports Vanuatu, along with team building and volunteering. We had to cancel the trip, but I was proud to see many team members doing individual volunteering in their own communities instead.
The whole Airbiz team still links up every Wednesday on ‘The Buzz’. It is an early start for the Australian team and a very late session for those in Europe but great to catch up on what the team is doing around the world, with a bit of banter and gossip.
Out of this crisis I hope we can get reforms to passenger processing and facilitation.
JW: How have you adapted your interactions with clients?
It has been much harder with clients. It is always best to sit around a table in person exploring ideas and solutions. And we have a backdrop where most of our clients lost well over 90% of their traffic. We have been working on strategies to help our clients, from parking strategies to complying with social distancing requirements. Though this is difficult for everyone, we are part of an amazing industry determined and committed to get through this crisis together. I have been overwhelmed by the discussions I have had, calls I have received. People are genuinely concerned for each other.
JW: You like to ask this of our airport members at events but what if YOU had the magic wand for a change?
Of course, there is the obvious one which I am sure most of us think of every morning when we wake up. But out of this crisis I hope we can get reforms to passenger processing and facilitation. We are proposing a processing model whereby all the passengers’ details are sent in advance to the border agencies at the arrival airport, including passport, ‘health visa’, digital arrivals card and photo of the passenger and their bags. The border agencies can screen all passengers whilst the flight is in the air, making the arrival process simpler, quicker, requiring a lot less facilitation and terminal space. Am I dreaming?