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Re-dressed To Impress


How do you present aircrafts to match expectations? OCS Group UK’s Aviation and Gateways Managing Director, Mark Walls, explains how they help leading airlines maintain pristine conditions in the aircraft cabin.


Today’s airlines are facing increasingly tough competition in a vibrant market which has seen a rapid growth in the number of budget airlines. Exceptional customer service, as well as cost, is therefore an important differentiator for leisure and business travellers when they are choosing who they want to fl y with. One area where airlines can make a real impact on the customer experience is through comfort and high quality presentation.


Keeping an aircraft clean is a procedure which must be executed with military precision and impeccable attention to timing and detail. The average cleaning time for a scheduled fl ight is 30 minutes and, when faced with unpredictable external factors such as delayed fl ights and adverse weather conditions, this can be reduced to as little as seven minutes. Added to this is the fact that OCS aircraft appearance teams provide so much more than a standard cleaning service; they are trusted by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, American Airlines, and many of


44 | TRANSPORT CLEANING


the biggest names in the aviation industry, to provide a ‘secure clean’ aircraft service.


Alongside the core cleaning tasks, OCS teams are highly trained to carry out the vital function of searching for items left onboard which could pose a security threat. Every square inch of the passenger and crew areas must be checked for any suspicious objects or anything untoward which may represent a security risk for the onward fl ight. This requires meticulous attention and a real quality commitment from every team member. Any ‘found property’ is handed immediately to airline security. This ensures that airlines are fully compliant with security standards both at home for the Department for Transport, and internationally to meet stringent standards such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the USA.


To take on this level of responsibility, it is necessary to fi nd exactly the right sort of person. You name it, OCS aircraft appearance teams fi nd it — from expensive mobile phones to vast


amounts of cash! Staff must be reliable and trustworthy and airside clearance alongside Disclosure and Barring Service and Counter Terrorist checks, mean that the recruitment and vetting process can take three months from beginning to end. Continuity of staffi ng is therefore vital for success in terms of compliance and service quality. To highlight this, in December last year, OCS held an awards dinner at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), where the company has operated for 22 years, to thank a core team of cleaning operatives who have each given over 20 years’ service.


At LHR alone, OCS cleans some 70% of landing aircraft, servicing around 145,000 aeroplanes each year for airlines from Iberia and Alitalia to Qatar Airways and Oman Air, as well as for the newest arrival into the airport, Philippines Airlines. The aircraft must fi rst be ‘gashed’ — a preliminary clean with a main focus on the safe search — followed by a ‘re-dress’, where further cleaning includes replacement of seatback material including safety cards and the checking of life jackets.


www.tomorrowscleaning.com


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