A focus on passenger experience is essential to the recovery of the global aviation industry, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah told industry leaders gathered in Bahrain for the opening of International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Passenger Symposium (WPS) 2022. Hosted by Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the event continues until the 3rd of November.
Mr. Al Binfalah said: “With their routines having been disrupted for an extended period of time, it can be difficult for some passengers to return to regular air travel. Encouraging them to fly again requires a concerted effort by the global aviation industry, including airports, airlines, travel agents, regulators, and governments.”
He added: “The launch of our new Passenger Terminal makes Bahrain International Airport (BIA) the most modern and passenger friendly boutique airport in the region, making the passenger experience central to our recovery strategy. And we have seen the results; like the rest of the world, we were badly affected, losing more than 75% of our usual traffic in 2020. Last year saw marginal improvements, but 2022 is exceeding expectations with approximately 6.5 million passengers expected to travel through BIA by the end of the year and 9 million by the end of next year, signalling an almost complete recovery.”
Mr. Al Binfalah was part of a three-member panel participating in the opening session, which included IATA Director General, Willie Walsh and Gulf Air CEO, Captain Waleed Abdulhameed Al Alawi. The discussion revolved around the aviation industry’s post-pandemic state, the opportunities and challenges it offers, and its future.
Under the theme: “Unlocking Value Creation by Putting the Customer First”, this year’s WPS combines the former Digital, Data and Retailing Symposium, the Global Airport and Passenger Symposium and the Accessibility Symposium into a single event to reflect the importance and connectedness of all three elements to the customer experience.
The event features plenary sessions spotlighting the challenges and opportunities shaping the aviation industry and providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices. In addition, there are three knowledge tracks that address the end-to-end customer journey, covering everything from shopping and purchasing air travel products to destination arrivals.