How many times does HM King Abdullah have to visit the Queen Alia Airport to get its managers to fix it? A few years ago the king visited the airport and said he was unhappy about the way things are handled there. Things have only slightly improved since then. A renovation process took ages to be completed (remember when the side walks were gutted and building materials where laying around for months?) and that too didn’t improve the airport much.
This morning’s papers have all highlighted, on the front page, the King’s visit to airport and his harsh comments. The Jordan Times reports:
King Abdullah on Monday said he was dissatisfied with bureaucratic procedures at the Queen Alia International Airport, and ordered measures to facilitate traveller movement and comfort.
“This is not the first time I visited the airport. Every time we take measures to facilitate procedures for travelers, we return and find the same obstacles again,” the King told officials at the airport during a visit.
“Some procedures are unjustified and create obstacles, although they can be solved through simple and immediate decisions.”
The Monarch gave airport authorities seven days to agree on one body that will be in charge of “solving all the problems as soon as possible”.
It’s good that the people responsible have been given this ultimatum!
I find it alarming that facilities that are very visible and vital to Jordan’s citizens and visitors alike and that create a lasting first impression are in such a retarded shape. If we can’t fix those high visibility things what should we expect to find in some forgotten government service that is not frequented by foreign guests.
Examples of the airport nonsense are:
- Going to a special counter to pay airport tax when leaving the country (I have not seen this in any other country)
- The long queues at the airport counters when coming back (the endless typing the police have to do for every passport).
- The policeman after the passport counter who’s only function in life (he and his three friends sitting with him) is to check the stamp you just got at the counter.
- The sometimes loud-mouthed “shabab” in blue overalls at the baggage belt, who always seem to be about to start a fight with each other.
- The state of the baggage conveyor belts.
- The fact that the ‘electronic gate’ equipment has been there for months but is not operational
- The guy at the parking ticket machine, who’s job is to pull the ticket out of the self-service(!) machine and hand it to you.
- The fact that your baggage will always fall off the cart when you try to roll it from the side walk to the parking lot (via a broken incline that is not worthy of slum, let alone an airport).
- The UNBELIEVABLE fact that there is STILL no big electronic signage that can be seen from your car as you approach the airport, telling you which flight is arriving at what terminal.
- The non-enforced NO SMOKING policy.
And even though I never fly business or first class, a friend of mine recently invited me into the first/business class lounge. It’s like a trip back to the 80’s. The service was actually OK. But the the whole look of it was so outdated.
The airport seems to be a run-down nest for outdated practices, people and interests. What it needs is someone who has an iron fist when it comes to the passenger experience. Someone with authority to call the shots and be able to tell EVERYONE at the airport how thing are going to be done. No exceptions here and there. No useless people standing around. No broken sidewalks. No loudmouthed baggage guys.
When you arrive in Dubai or Qatar, not only are you greeted by modern buildings (OK ,they have the money), but you also see a cleaner environment and a more efficient system.
Furthermore, why can the ‘conservative Gulf’ states staff their passport counters with elegantly dressed and groomed men and LADIES (in their traditional civilian dress) while the visitor to Jordan is greeted into the country by policeMEN (sometimes with sweaty heads).
I am not saying that we should have people in traditional dress. But why not young Jordanian men and women in civilian dress.
In the Gulf, the baggage porters are are from the indian subcontinent. They are there to do their job. Period. But in Jordan.. Nooo, these guys are there, probably their pride ‘hurt’ that they have to ‘serve’ and they compensate for that by always seeming to be on verge of a fight.
We don’t need fancy buildings or another renovation. We need a group of empowered people who come and fix the human and service aspects of the airport. This needs to be done now and with vigor.
If HM The King has to visit the airport again and nothing has changed I would suggest he fires those responsible immediately.
Read these related posts on 360east:
- Death of free wireless internet at Queen Alia Airport
- Rayan Abdullah in Amman
- King Hussein Mosque location
- The French will demolish the airport (let’s hope they fix it before that!)
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