The Port Authority is increasing its airports’ customer care representatives staff by more than 50 percent, creating new welcome centers for arriving passengers, providing electronic airport information alerts, adding 5,000 new seats and opening nearly 70 new and upgraded food, beverage and retail outlets at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports as part of a comprehensive, $34 million customer-service program detailed today in a news conference.
“Providing our customers with the best services possible remains our guiding principle,” Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said. “The new and enhanced elements in our customer care program focus on the complete travel experience, from parking lot to airline gate and back again. This reaffirmation of our commitment to customer service is a central focus of our 10-year capital plan, which earmarks about $4 billion for our airports.”
Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “The best airports in the world get you where you’re going safely and quickly, with dignity and without hassles. That’s our vision for our airports. We\'re expecting a record 30 million travelers at our airports this summer, and we want them to notice some immediate improvements in the quality of their experience, whether it’s greater visibility of our red-jacketed customer care representatives – we’ve added about 200 more people to assist our airport customers – or brand-new seats in every car in the AirTrain JFK fleet, or dozens of new post-security concessions in our airports’ terminals. In the coming months, we\'ll also introduce a number of long-term enhancements that will provide even more comforts and conveniences for our customers. Today, the Port Authority is beginning a new era of commitment to customer service at our airports.”
One of the key initiatives calls for asking customers for their input and feedback, and soliciting their ideas about improving the airports via a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other initiatives include:
- about 200 new customer care representatives – an increase of more than 50 percent over previous staffing levels – to assist travelers throughout the airports: on terminal frontages, at ticket counters, at doorways, in AirTrain stations, in federal inspection facilities, and anywhere else airport customers may need help;
- new welcome centers to replace existing ground transportation counters, staffed by customer care representatives who will provide customers with assistance and information about their trips, including ground access options, hotels and points of interest;
- nearly 5,000 new seats at Newark Airport’s Terminal B and LaGuardia’s Central Terminal Building;
- better and easier access to airport and airline information, including more flight information monitors, free airport alerts for subscribers, PDA-accessible flight status information and schedules, and “next-arriving-train” monitors at AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark stations;
- a cell-phone parking lot at JFK where people can park legally and for free while waiting to pick up arriving passengers, who call their rides waiting in the lot when they are ready;
- a new valet parking service at JFK;
- new seats and flooring on the entire AirTrain JFK 32-car fleet;
- the new dedicated e-mail to solicit customer suggestions, email@example.com, as well as expansion of the Port Authority’s mystery shopper airport quality assurance teams to monitor and evaluate vendors and other airport employees in order to provide the Port Authority with analysis to make targeted improvements in services;
- expansion of the agency’s award-winning airport signage program; and
- expansion of the Port Authority Customer Care Training program for airport employees that emphasizes attitude, appearance, awareness and knowledge.
The Port Authority’s major airports are vital to the regional economy, supporting $57 billion in annual economic activity while generating nearly 500,000 jobs with more than $20 billion in wages. In 2006, the three airports set a record by combining to serve more than 104.1 million passengers. No other airport system in the United States handles as many passengers, and projections call for more than 107 million total air travelers this year.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.