What’s one area Sydney Airport currently lacks in when it comes to customer experience? If you ask the gateway’s new boss, it’s touching base with travellers before they leave home.

Although one would generally detach airports from the responsibility of communicating with travellers before their arrival at the gateway, Sydney Airport’s Chief Executive Geoff Culbert sees it as a missed opportunity to better the customer experience and “unlock pools of revenue”.

Speaking at the recent CAPA Australia Pacific Summit in Sydney, Culbert said he believes that through collaboration airlines and airports can touch base with travellers before they hop into their vehicles, and even suggested the development of an app, which can be used to connect with guests on issues such as traffic jams.


Image: Jayden Staines/Unsplash

“We think a little bit about the customer at home on the couch, but not as much as we should,” Culbert said.

“Congestion on the road is definitely a challenge and we need to be thinking different about the way we engage with customers around that and make sure they get to the airport with a faster and more pleasurable journey.”

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport Chief Executive

Culbert suggested that the app can message customers a day before travel with estimated travel times along with links to various travel options such as Uber, taxis and trains.


Image: Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash

The app would then contact flyers again on the day of travel with notifications on traffic jams and accidents.

“We could send a push notification to the customer to say, ‘you may want to leave a little earlier, by the way here’s a link to Uber, here’s a link to taxies and here’s a retail voucher’.”

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport Chief Executive

While the idea may save flyers a lot of time and stress, Culbert said the Sydney Airport is unable to produce the app without airline collaboration because the gateway doesn’t have the customer information.

“Airlines have the customer information, we have the traffic information, but we’re not connected and we’re missing an opportunity in this regard.”

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport Chief Executive

Sydney Airport recently completed a five-year ground transport plan, which included an investment of some $2 million on roads in and around the airport.


What do you think of the airport traffic app?