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New database helps Airport staff break down language barriers

Created: 22nd Jan 2014

Bristol Airport’s customer experience team has responded to the rising number of overseas visitors passing through the terminal by compiling a database detailing members of staff with language skills.

The comprehensive catalogue covers 34 different languages, from Bengali to Tagalog. As well as spoken tongues, sign language skills are also included. Members of the Airport team can now quickly and easily contact colleagues able to help when dealing with customers unable to understand English.

The number of foreign residents using Bristol Airport has almost trebled in the last decade, with over a million journeys made by overseas visitors in 2012. Analysis of data from the Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Survey shows that an estimated 18 per cent of the Airport’s passengers were based outside the UK, with visitors hailing from a total of 82 different countries.

Alison Roberts, Head of Customer Operations at Bristol Airport, said:

“As the number of overseas visitors using Bristol Airport grows, our team are increasingly required to call on their own or colleagues’ language skills when assisting customers. The language database makes it quicker and easier to identify a colleague who can help when a language barrier is encountered.”

Last year Bristol Airport became the first British airport to achieve accreditation from WorldHost, the world-leading customer welcome programme used to train nearly one million people worldwide, including tens of thousands of staff and volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The programme has been endorsed by Visit England and covers customer service skills and awareness of different cultures with the aim of ensuring visitors to the UK receive a warm and friendly welcome.

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