JIS News

As Jamaica welcomes thousands of visitors to the island for the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC), several members of staff at the Norman Manley International Airport recently participated in a customer service training programme, so as to ensure a more pleasant experience for visitors, who are passing through the airport.
More than 290 men and women from various airport stakeholder organizations participated in the intensive training course, which was organized by the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ).
Among the areas covered were teamwork, handling difficult customers, history and culture, importance of the internal customer, excellent passenger service, communications and measuring success.
Fernel Samuels, Supervisor at the Immigration Department, said that since the customer service training, the Department has been getting a lot of commendations from passengers and the public.
“They have been saying that our officers are now smiling more and even are more accommodating to them, and the immigration officers are also finding this very important. The training has helped in that they are now more comfortable in the way they talk to the passengers, and this has come across to us the supervisory body as very good,” said Mr. Samuels.
He added that “the training had taught them (immigration officers) that they need to have a little smile and this is something that we have to do on a daily basis and keep practising to make it permanent”.
Andrew Wood, Customs Supervisor at the Passenger Terminal, told JIS News that the training was very effective as the customs officers were more customer friendly.
“We have tried our best to present the most professional service possible that we can at Jamaica Customs. We have had passengers coming to us and informing us that our officers are very professional in how they have executed their duties and we should continue in the same regard,” informed Mr. Wood.
Mr. Wood explained that the customer service training has facilitated a culture of “customer service for all of us and I realise that we have been able to collaborate more of our services in terms of ensuring that the experience for our passengers and our customers are at its best”.
Meanwhile, President of the AAJ, Earl Richards in a statement, also lauded the training initiative, pointing out that the aim was to create “an efficient and festive environment for the duration of the CWC period that will set the tone for future operations”.
“We recognise that as we are in the middle of our massive expansion project, we need to make a special effort to compensate for the fact that some areas are obviously still under construction. We are making sure that our passengers and all other airport users are not inconvenienced,” he added.
In the meantime, the first phase of the airport expansion project is scheduled for completion in 2008, with the new terminal to be ready before the end of 2007.
Phase 1A of the main terminal development project is being executed with the major development being the new departure terminal and the new two-level arrivals/passenger pier, with four new passenger boarding bridges.
The old departure lounge will be incorporated into the refurbished arrivals complex, with improved immigration and customs facilities added later in this phase.
At present, construction on the departure terminal and pier are well advanced, with sections scheduled for completion at the end of March 2007, and full completion of the interiors of the new terminal set for the last quarter of this year.