Focus on Customers

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Focus on Customers

We are committed to providing outstanding and sustainable products and services to our customers. We aim to do this by engaging them on sustainability issues, exploring low impact alternatives and adhering to recognised sustainability standards.

Responding to our customers' needs is at the heart of what we do. In 2010, we served 26.8 million passengers located in Hong Kong and over 70 other outports.

Key issues raised by stakeholders on our Customers
Customer service and comfort. Investing in people. Punctuality of flights. Crisis handling and the ability to contact Cathay Pacific/Dragonair/Marco Polo/CX Holidays directly and quickly.
Getting it right when things go wrong
    Our emergency response system supports and manages service disruptions or major incidents that occur during operations. A number of highlights and enhancements to this system in 2010 include:
  • A new CARE Team was formed, comprising over 700 staff volunteers from all over the world, taking advantage of the many languages and cultures in our system. Their role is to offer humanitarian support to our passengers and their families during and after a crisis. Before being certified, each team member receives two days of intensive training, which is led by the company staff psychologist and emergency response specialists. A few of the members were dispatched to help stranded students during the UK snowstorms in December.
  • Several "Mutual Assistance Agreements" with other air carriers were renewed. By way of these agreements, Cathay Pacific will have support from more than 15 air carriers in case of an accident overseas.
  • The Group participated in a crash simulation exercise at HKIA. In 2010, Dragonair was the host carrier and the emergency response system was tested using a mix of Group staff.
  • All ports in the Group underwent training or exercises in emergency response and irregular operations systems in the past 18 months.

Service disruption

    We aim to handle disruptions in an effective and timely manner. We have developed and implemented the following plans and teams to ensure that our customers experience a consistent level of service during flight disruptions regardless of where they are in our network:
  • Irregular Operations Plans - ensuring our customers are informed of flight irregularities through a variety of channels, such as email, text messaging and social media
  • Service Disruption Support Team - supplementing operational staff, this team is called upon to perform check-in, reservations and information services during disruptions
  • Individual Port Irregularity Operations Plans (IROPS) - helping to manage flight disruption responses from outports
  • Customer and Commercial Control Team - created and launched in 2010 to provide a coordinated commercial response during disruption, as well as provide support to outports and manage the customer experience elements of the disruption
Rising to an extraordinary challenge

Cathay Pacific was affected by disruptions brought about by Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption which began on 15 April and continued for six days. The airline cancelled a total of 79 flights affecting around 20,000 passengers. Even when flights resumed, it took a significant effort from teams around the network to clear the backlog and get stranded passengers to their destinations.

The Hong Kong response involved action from a wide range of operational and commercial teams. The disruption team met daily in the Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) to get flights back on track.

The Cathay Pacific Emergency Passenger Information Centre (CEPIC) was activated and volunteers helped answer calls as well as providing assistance to frontline teams at the airport.

At one point, we accommodated nearly 2,000 people in hotels. When European airspace reopened, Cathay Pacific operated 10 extra flights using larger aircraft that provided an additional 6,500 seats.

Chief Executive at the time, Tony Tyler acknowledged the effort of all the teams involved, "You did a brilliant job in a very difficult situation. The sheer length and scale of the disruption made it different from anything we'd dealt with before."

Emergencies and accidents

In addition to the disruption systems and teams on stand-by, we have a Crisis Management Centre that handles any emergency or accident involving our aircraft anywhere around the world. If required, an Emergency Plan is immediately activated and a Crisis Management Team assembled. The Cathay Emergency Passenger Information Centre (CEPIC) acts as an emergency, 24-hour, toll-free call centre linked to all outports, disseminating information to all parties as required. The Cathay Pacific CARE Team provides immediate assistance to passengers and families. This assistance can include making appropriate arrangements for travel, accommodation, financial and referral services.

To ensure that we are prepared for these scenarios, an emergency simulation exercise is held every year.

"[On the London snow storm] A giant thanks to the team at Cathay Pacific, who looked after everyone who arrived at the hotel, even if they were not flying with CX. I was particularly impressed by the way that staff patiently listened to and handled every question and issue with such courtesy, sensitivity and professionalism."

Mr. Dean Annison
Company Director General of Tiger Lowestoft
Staff rally to tackle storm

Hundreds of passengers, including many students, were left stranded at London Heathrow due to snow right before Christmas. Fifteen Cathay Pacific flights between London and Hong Kong were either diverted or cancelled over a three-day period. We booked a hotel conference room for our passengers - mainly young people - to rest in, with medical care, food and drinks provided. Some of our staff stayed with the passengers overnight to ensure they were well looked after. Volunteers from our corporate CARE team were also sent from Hong Kong to assist in passenger handling. All passengers got out before Christmas once the weather cleared up.

In New York, heavy snowfall grounded five Cathay Pacific aircraft for between four and 11 hours as gates were unavailable at the airport for passengers to disembark. Some 1,100 passengers were affected by the delays. Director Service Delivery at the time, Ivan Chu, commented that, given the scale of such disruption there was much that Cathay Pacific could learn and improve upon in handling such situations more effectively."We will look into what we have done right and what we could do better, particularly in the area of customer communication, customer care and resources, so that as a team we can learn and build capability to do better next time." All passengers involved in the New York delays were provided with compensation.