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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Essential airport services | A traveler's perspective

Essential airport services | A traveler's perspective

Thoughts of my experience traveling within Africa necessitated this article and it’s more of a call to action than a travel story. Hopefully, someone in authority (or their associates) will read this and take action.

Travel experience for air passengers starts from the point the traveler enters the airport, whether on arrival or at departure. For a traveler arriving at his/her destination, the airport is the ‘first impression’ about the country while a traveler departing the country expects some level of comfort and time optimization as they wait to board their flights. This is called the ‘the airport experience’ which is huge in countries like Singapore, Japan and more enlightened countries.

It is important to state that an airport is both a representative of a destination and a reflection of the leadership of a country but more importantly, an airport is part of the travel experience. Hence, the importance of creating a customer-centric airport that helps to create a better end-to-end travel experience.

The greatest source of a travelers dissatisfaction is not the shopping experience or the price paid for ancillary services. It is the airport experience at departure and arrival. This could be anything from cleanliness, orderliness, quick information clarity, calmness and even beauty

This article is not exactly directed at the Muritala International Airport Nigeria alone as I wasn’t entirely pleased with the Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Sengeal either. Talking about airports in Africa that deliver customer service experience and satisfaction, West Africa airports come last. By the way, I was fairly impressed with Lomé International Airport, Togo.

As travelers or operators, I can guess that we have heard of the phase “getting there is half the fun”? There is no gainsaying that an airport can complement a great travel experience. So before paying the next contractor(s) a huge amount of taxpayers/investors money, consider the following as essential services which real travelers would love to have in an airport.

  1. State-of-the-art design and adaptive architecture

  2. Stunning indigenous decorations and carvings

  3. Connected and orderly rail or transport infrastructure

  4. Functional amenities and perhaps free trolleys (where possible)

  5. Decent outlets

  6. Greenery space

  7. Kids play area

  8. All round kindness of airport staff (Yes, Human Infrastructure)

  9. Proper digital labeling of baggage areas

  10. Free Internet (WiFi) facility

  11. Transit hotel / pay per use lounges to freshen up or get some snooze

  12. Genuine duty free shops

  13. Premium (comfortable) airport waiting chairs

  14. Functional air conditioners

  15. Functional security cameras

  16. Functional Jet bridges

  17. High and low end restaurants

  18. Movie theater

  19. Data gathering machines and functional cameras

  20. Tech-savvy service and proper bag handling procedures

If we Africans want to be globally competitive and boost regional and international trade, perhaps we should start with our airports. This is a great opportunity for private investors.

While some of the above are longer term goals, some can almost immediately be done. It is important that we remember though that to maximize an airport’s revenue potential, it has to elevate passengers experience. For these reasons, we can’t afford to loose sight of both the longer term goals e.g transit facilities, utilities etc and short term goals.

As foreigners continue to influx Africa either for business or tourism purposes, there is a broader need to deliver new solutions that are directed at improving efficiency, eliminating the traveler’s stress and significantly revamping the customer experience.

CONCLUSION

Unfortunately, development of airport infrastructure in many Africa countries has lagged behind travel growth.We should desire to build a world-class facility with heaps of options to help passengers feed well, rest well and get entertained.

As foreigners continue to influx Africa either for business or tourism purposes, there is a broader need to deliver new solutions that are directed at improving efficiency, eliminating the traveler’s stress and significantly revamping passengers experience.

Countries like South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Togo appear to be far advanced in terms of airport infrastructure than other giants like Nigeria. Could this be caused by inadequate funding? Then, why not implement policies that attract private investment into the aviation sector. Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section. Are you a frequent traveler and what are your expectations of an airport, especially of airports in Africa?

Thank you for coming to my infrastructure development Ted talk. Till my next wanderlust, I remain Margaret Oghumu.

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