Organization Culture – the route to Achieving World Class Standards

Greenfield Airport in South India

In 2005, when the news about the company being awarded the contract for building the new Greenfield airport in one of the prominent cities in South India broke – there were also questions about how the company that never had an experience in operating airport is going to build and operate.

Three years later when the airport was inaugurated at its scheduled time everyone was in awe – the entire team of the company had given a new life & definition to how airports in India can look and provide awesome experience to every user of the airport.

In one of the initial interactions with the Group Chairman, he said “I can get the best of everything w.r.t technology, infrastructure, architecture by partnering with the best people in the world; but I have to run this airport with employing people here in India” and in the context where most airport-experienced employees were employed with AAI. Therefore preparing employees, aligning them on the vision towards operating a world-class airport, and building the culture for sustaining the excellence in service quality is the most critical of all. That was a very profound statement – and the initiative towards Self-Managed Teams (SMT) started there.

Several initiatives starting from – assessment on cultural attributes at hiring stage, training everyone on customer centricity (incl. CISF, Airline and Vendor partners), formation of SMTs based on customer walk-ways, giving attention to all aspects that meets the international ASQ standards (Airport Service Quality), defining the scorecards, team building interventions, workshops on cultural values etc. – all of these with the visible commitment of the leadership towards this program led to creating the “culture”, which became the differentiating factor.

After 11 years of its operations, this airport is still one of the best in the world in the “11 million passengers’ category. Today, it operates with ½ of employee strength compared to 2007 with bettering the standards and results every year.

Since the success of this initiative – the company started horizontally deploying this program to every other airport that it later operated.