The Canberra Airport has been in a tight spot this year like many other businesses reliant on tourism. We spoke to NCAA member Jemma Delamont, Property and Aviation Marketing Manager at the Canberra Airport. “It’s been an interesting 6 months. First, we were impacted by the smoke over the Christmas and new year period, then fires at the airport and then a few weeks later COVID-19 hit.”
Airports have been on the frontline of the pandemic, not only health-wise but economically. Jemma stated that the financial impact was swift and substantial, after most domestic and all international routes were cancelled, “We lost a large portion of our business essentially overnight.”
The businesses then pivoted to “looking at different ways we could generate revenue for our business as well as our retailers.” One such idea has been Park-In Pictures, a drive-in cinema which has been treating Canberrans to a night at the movies while cinemas were closed. Well received by the public, the initiative is mid-way through its six-week run with tickets still available for the last 2 weekends. A smart concept by Airport staff.
Jemma acknowledged that Canberra Airport staff have been through a lot of stress since December. “Staff have been a bit up and down. We were at home for a while but have now moved back into the office, which has been great. We are a close-knit family here and are doing our best to band together.”
One way they have kept staff morale up is by focusing on the positives, “Canberra Airport has partnered with Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and Fly Pelican to facilitate direct flights from Canberra to Ballina, providing a highly sought-after alternate holiday destination. There has also been the reopening of the Qantas lounge and retail outlet news@CBR as well as the opening of Go Convenience in the arrival’s hall.”
But with the slow return of domestic travel, it is just as important as ever that cleanliness and health measures are clear and effective. “Canberra Airport was the first major Australian airport to introduce body temperature scanning at security as an additional safety measure against COVID-19. Single-use tray cleaning procedures were also introduced as well as physical distancing signage and hand sanitiser stations throughout the airport to ensure our passengers and guests felt safe travelling again.”
“It’s important that people know what they need to do before they arrive for their flight. We are achieving this by communicating to passengers through our social channels, external media, and working with the airlines to ensure our messaging is consistent at all times.”
Jemma, like many NCAA members advised that it is essential for Canberrans to stick together. “Try to get back to work where possible and begin rebuilding. Not only is the health impact of COVID-19 hitting our community, but we are also faced with a huge economic threat. We should ensure that we are all supporting each other so that we come out the other side.”