Tuesday 15 October 2019
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"Everything is wonderful, except the airport"

Friday 20 September 2019

"Everything is wonderful, except the airport"


A lack of staff, along with other issues, has caused problems at Guernsey Airport over the summer - one of its busiest times of the year - with a businessman now calling for a change in management.

Douglas Johnstone says the service has been noticed to have slipped over recent months, and something needs to be done about it.

"I think the customer service is appalling," said Mr Johnstone, who has lived in Guernsey for the past five years and flies regularly. "To my mind, the customer doesn't come first and I think it has to be a senior management issue.

"I love Guernsey. We have very, very few complaints about Guernsey and we think it is a wonderful place to live. Everything is wonderful, except the airport. I think it could put businesses off and I think it could put people like me off. Would I have come and lived here if I knew about all these problems at the airport? And if businesses have got people coming in and out all the time, would they want to come here if they're going to have all fo these problems?"

Douglas Johnstone

Pictured: Douglas Johnstone.

Mr Johnstone's main complaints come from what he sees as a lack of passenger announcements and up-to-date information.

"I fly a lot," he explained. "I must do 50 flights a year from Guernsey Airport.

"The other week I had to wait an hour for my luggage, so I started asking around. I asked the people at Customs and they didn't know, they said you have to ask Aurigny staff. There were no Aurigny staff in the arrivals hall, so when I went outside I went to the Aurigny staff and said 'why was the luggage so long' and they said 'we've got staff shortage problems' - again.

"Why did Aurigny not come in and just let customers know? Why not make an announcement? Even lie - I don't mind! But nothing, the customers are just ignored and there's no one to advise you.

Guernsey Airport Aurigny

Pictured: Guernsey Airport.

"Three weeks ago, I was at the airport and the plane was scheduled to go at 16:30. At about 16:15 they did make an announcement and said 'the flight will leave at 17:30' and they put that on the board. We never heard another thing and come 17:30 - nothing. I started asking and nobody knew why. The flight eventually took off at 18:00. All you want is an announcement, but nothing.

"I understand when flights are delayed for operational reasons like fog or planes going tech, that's beyond their control, but just let people know and update it. They'll tell you once and then nothing."

Mr Johnstone has also faced problems with delays going through security and incorrect flight arrival times on the airport's website.

"I travel all over the world and I don't go anywhere worse than Guernsey," he added.

However, Guernsey Airport has apologised and said staff levels should soon be back to normal.

ash Nicholas airport

Pictured: Ash Nicholas.

"The standard of service has at times fallen below the level that our customers should expect, and below that which we set ourselves," said Head of Aviation Services, Ash Nicholas. "There have been a number of reasons for this and we are committed to resolving these issues. We are investing considerable resources - financial, in staff time and with subject matter experts to do so.

"The underlying cause of the issues raised relate primarily to short staffing this summer across a number of our third-party business partners who, for various reasons, have experienced high staff turnover this year.

"Collectively and irrespective of the challenges faced by individual organisations we do all try to work together to provide the best information and service that we can. However, this summer's staffing shortages across a number of organisations have been particularly challenging and we accept that delays have regrettably occurred from time to time, for which we apologise.

"On a positive note, we hope our passengers will have seen and will continue to see real investment in airport infrastructure and equipment to improve the overall customer experience."

Pictured top: Guernsey Airport.

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