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Aviation Portal: Innovation for comfort.


FROM his home in Ganawuri community in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, Bernad Bagu forced his way through the foggy weather to make it to the airport in time. On his arrival at Jos Airport he looked at his wristwatch to be sure he was on time for his flight. Time passed, but Bagu and other passengers on his flight were not called for boarding.  The flight from Jos to Lagos has been delayed.

So Bagu spent the whole day at the airport without making his trip as his flight was delayed and eventually cancelled due to bad weather.  He had purchased the ticket without looking into the aviation porter to be sure of flight status and weather reports among other information.

And while it was a sorry tale for Bagu, his colleague, Chom Moses had a good experience at the airport. Clad in his harmattan wear torrents of thoughts engaged his mind on his way to the airport. ‘What’s the weather like today, the cost and which airline is the best for the journey’ were some of the thoughts running through the tunnel of his mind.

Then, he remembered someone mentioned the aviation portal for reliable information. He pulled his car to a stop and quickly reached out for his smartphone to check where he got answers to his questions and even more.

Not only that, he dialled 0700011111, the helpline where he made further inquiries.

Now, barely a month since the Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, launched the new Aviation Passengers Service (APS) portal and the Aviation Helpline, air travellers have embraced the one-stop platform that provides a single platform where the flying public can access real time information about airlines operations and services at any of the airports in Nigeria.

Indeed, from statistics, Nigerians believed the aviation portal will transform the aviation sector into a customer-centric industry.

For instance, an online poll indicated a 65 per cent of respondents who affirmed the relevance of the new platform to the industry’s growth. In another poll 48 per cent of travellers believed it will help them in their journey.

Presently flights are being delayed, diverted or cancelled as a safety measure due to the harmattan haze which causes blurred visibility and sometimes gives rise to low level wind shear that may hamper air safety.

Undoubtedly, where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed weather minimal, safety takes pre-eminence.

To be sure, the Aviation authorities had forewarned of the dry and dusty harmattan wind that blows southwest from the Sahara desert into the Gulf of Guinea to prepare travellers using the airports in the country.

Since assuming his position as Nigeria’s minister of aviation last year, Chidoka had taken steps to ensure a better management of the sector.

For him, the need to understand the sector better preceded his rapid reform. He was well prepared.

Within the short time of assuming office, he has proved his mettle by promptly identifying patterns, spotting opportunities, making  the connection between new technology and existing customers, and seeing trends early enough to act on them.

So to make the aviation sector a success by international standards, the minister is adopting a strong customer service focus including measurement of passenger satisfaction at the airports. He has engaged with corporations, government agencies and service providers to bring about these changes.

Of course, the airport community forms an integrated service chain where inputs from multiple stakeholders are required to provide an end-to-end service to the customers.

 For them, the portal will remove costs, increase accountability and improve decision making by stripping out unnecessary bureaucracy and layers of management.

And for the airlines, the aviation portal will reduce work in progress through the supply chain, reduce time of response and make the sector more competitive.

The traveller can submit complaints, suggestions and/or commendations to the ministry and any of its agencies, thereby providing feedbacks on any issues pertaining to domestic airlines and incidences at any of the airports in the country upon which appropriate intervention will be taken by the relevant officials.

Clearly, the aviation portal is a stunning concept that is helping in better service delivery.  The portal has added additional attraction to Nigerian airports for air travellers amidst the convenience that the remodelled airports now offer to air travellers.

 Dati is the General Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN).

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