FBO/Handler (George Best / Belfast)
Belfast City (George Best) Airport
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Avflight Belfast City has won the Business Air News FBO Survey for the second time, having previously triumphed in 2017. Customer service is its absolute priority, as operations manager Ryan Hogg explains: “We are not relying on a facility to woo customers; it’s about us, the people. Since we won in 2017, our parent company Avfuel has released a revamped version of its online training system, which includes customer service modules. So it builds on our FBO fuel and handling expertise using an easily-accessible, cost-effective online platform, designed to complement the hands-on training that already takes place at each individual FBO. “We always try to encourage a little bit of competition in the team when it comes to these surveys. I think it is a great way to re-energise the team in terms of how they approach customer service. This has been complemented by the online Avfuel training system. Those are the key elements to what we have achieved here.”
Hogg singles out operations officer James O'Loughlin for particular praise. “James just went above and beyond on a daily basis. He is one of our longest-standing employees and I have had the pleasure of knowing him in a previous role, too. The efforts he makes in spending time with crews and ensuring that everything is done to the best of our abilities so our customers feel valued is commendable. He really is a key aspect of our business in Belfast and deserves recognition.”
Avflight Belfast City has witnessed a slight increase in traffic, mainly in the midsize jet sector, which accounts for the majority of its business. This is against a backdrop of a marginal increase of around 1.5 per cent over the past year across Europe as a whole. The company expects to get an additional boost, however, from the 2019 Golf Open at Royal Portrush in July, which has generated a lot interest from operators and third-party flight departments.
“We are excited about a new addition to the team too,” continues Hogg. “We brought in Stuart Robinson as operations officer, who has been with us now for three months. Stuart came to us from within the industry, so the move has been mutually beneficial. Having a new staff member come in presents a great opportunity for us to review procedures and fuse the best part of their background with what we do. “Our team has always approached the Business Air News survey as a matter of pride. Every year that we have participated, we have remained in the top five, but anything other than the top spot hasn’t been satisfactory for us. To have the opportunity to compete and win it again has been fantastic, and really speaks to the team’s unwavering focus on customer service.
“I know we are banging on the same drum as in years past, but that is truly at the centre of our business here, not just in Belfast, but at all of our locations in the US too. It also filters across our fellow independent Avfuel-branded FBOs, of which there are more than 650. We are all tapping into the same resources, from training to aviation solutions such as AVTRIP rewards, with customer focus at the centre. This really is necessary, especially when we are competing against the bigger chains.
“We are delighted with the results and to have won this survey on more than one occasion now is a true testament to the team and the job that they do every day.”