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Gudmundur Olafsson, divisional manager of the general aviation department at IGS Ground Services, talks about the challenges and opportunities of providing ground handling services in Iceland

 

How did you first become involved in business aviation?
When I joined IGS OPS Center in 2011, which today is called Ground Operations Center, I was immediately fascinated by the industry as it possesses a certain amount of appeal. I find the feeling of providing the best possible service to a client and them leaving and remembering the service they received extremely rewarding.

What do you find most enjoyable about the industry?
I enjoy level of “internationality” to it as I get to meet clients from all over the world. The fact that I am also able to meet my peers and business partners from different corners of the world at events such as NBAA is quite amazing. It keeps me on edge and on a mission to constantly seek to improve my level of services. I can always expect something new to happen but I never let anything catch me off guard either.

When did you join IGS and what is your role?
I originally joined IGS in 2008 as a check-in and boarding agent. I then joined IGS OPS Center in 2011 and worked my way through university and gained my BSc in business administration and marketing. In those days I held the title of supervisor but later got promoted to duty supervisor. Today I hold the title of divisional manager of the general aviation department at IGS Ground Services.  

What attributes do you bring to the team and how do you plan to use these to improve services?
Although the level of service IGS provides its clients is good, I believe one can always do better. My level of understanding what the client needs and wants based on his or her cultural differences is my advantage. You will not succeed in this business if you treat every aircraft turnaround the same. When operating in a business as international as general aviation, one has to be able to adapt to your clients needs and wants, which may differ substantially depending on client origin.

 

Right: IGS has been providing ground
services at Keflavik Airport for almost 80 years

 

 

What are the challenges of providing ground handling in Iceland and how do you overcome these?
The challenges in
Iceland are mostly caused by ever changing weather conditions and the fact the tourist stream to Iceland has been steadily increasing over the past few years, causing a strain on all facilities and infrastructure. IGS has years of experience dealing with highs and lows when it comes to arrivals and departures as well as the challenging weather conditions. It is all about preparation and possessing the appropriate handling equipment.

What are the main things to consider when flying to Iceland?
Keflavik Airport is kept open all year round in all sorts of weather conditions. I would say that clients should monitor the weather conditions well during winter and choose correctly when it comes ground handling at the airport. You want to be able to rely on your handler to be able to provide the clients with what they need and a safe turnaround.

What are business aviation customers looking for (in terms of customer service) and how does IGS meet these demands?
As the experienced ground handler at Keflavik Airport, IGS knows what its customers need and want. It has taken us years to get to know our clients, some of which have trusted us to deliver the best possible service for many years and we aim to continue to do so. We constantly try to learn from our mistakes and it is always our mission to never repeat one. I know that business aviation customers are looking for peace of mind – they do not like surprises – so the key to meet those expectations is good preparation and a quality control system. IGS is ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certified.

How will the company continue to grow – any new developments at Keflavik?
As mentioned earlier, Iceland has been faced with an unprecedented rise in tourist arrivals over the last few years or since the 2010 volcanic eruption. All parties have been forced to expand with a rapid pace, including IGS. Expansions scheduled by the airport authorities include an airport city, more gates and jetways, parking lots, hotels and other facilities. This means that in the next 25 years we will see the airport and its surroundings grow and IGS will have to grow with it. I believe it will only make the company stronger than ever.

October 22, 2015

 

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