Calls for OTP/SLA shake-up at GHI’s Digital Reconnect

Written by: Alwyn Brice |
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Industry leaders have called for a reboot of ground handling KPIs if stakeholder collaboration is to transform from an aspiration to a bona-fide business principle in 2021 at GHI’s Digital Reconnect virtual event.

The rallying call came as more than 300 aviation business leaders from across the world united at GHI’s virtual event, which provided a forum for the sector to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Liam Bolger, Head of Airside Operations at London Luton airport, told GHI’s Big Debate session: “Amid this pandemic, we have a big opportunity to remodel things. We must write out anything that penalises. Let’s move away from KPIs set by you, for me, and move towards jointly agreed goals that centre on the passenger benefit.”

Exclusive research presented at GHI’s Digital Reconnect revealed that 51% of handlers believed stakeholder collaboration had failed to materialise in 2020, despite being much vaunted across the aviation sector during the pandemic. That figure rose to 67% among airline respondents.

Peter Hewett, Aviation Consultant, urged all parties to seek a more co-operative stance: “There are instances where a ground handler agrees to a contract with pricing and then later on they are sent the SLA. The working together part seems to have gone missing. We must become more collaborative.”

The Big Debate panel reflected on a “horrendous period” for aviation in 2020, which was beyond the worst expectations of those operators who had developed pandemic response plans.

Javed Malik, Group Chief Operations Officer at AirAsia said: “I don’t think 9/11 is even comparable as we are got through that very quickly in comparison. Nothing can compare to the coronavirus in terms of the scale and depth of the impact on our businesses.”

However, there were signs of storm clouds lifting, the GHI Conference heard. More than 70% of aviation chiefs voiced optimism over their business prospects in 2021, with confidence that volumes could recover to more than 60% of pre-pandemic levels by the year end.

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