Air­port am­bas­sadors boost Bay

Havelock North Village Press - - News -

The first 33-strong team of Hawke’s Bay Air­port am­bas­sadors are all smiles in their new vol­un­teer roles wel­com­ing in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic pas­sen­gers to the re­gion.

The Air­port re­ceived an over­whelm­ing re­sponse since putting the call out for lo­cals to fill vol­un­teer am­bas­sador roles — all you needed was a wel­com­ing smile and a pas­sion for ev­ery­thing Hawke’s Bay.

Made up of mainly re­tirees, the am­bas­sadors come from all walks of life and live across Hawke’s Bay. Those who have jobs are giv­ing their time around their work com­mit­ments and over the week­ends.

The Air­port’s cus­tomer ser­vice as­sis­tant Sara Cartwright said they’re an ab­so­lutely awe­some team with a very pos­i­tive out­look and who are all thrilled with the op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote the re­gion and in­ter­act with peo­ple.

“It’s been a plea­sure tak­ing them through the in­duc­tion and ori­en­ta­tion pro­gramme.

“It’s also great to see the re­la­tion­ships de­velop within the group, and how happy they are to just be here and help make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence.

“They’re re­ally en­joy­ing them­selves and giv­ing their all, which is great as the sum­mer tourist sea­son is in full swing.”

For “peo­ple per­son” Paki Hut­ley, who moved to Napier with hus­band Clive 12 years ago, be­com­ing an air­port am­bas­sador has ful­filled a life­long dream.

“I’ve ticked it off my bucket list.

“When I lived in Auck­land I wanted to be one, so soon as I saw the story in Hawke’s Bay To­day I was so ex­cited and ap­plied straight away,” she said.

Mrs Hut­ley, who works on night­shift at Ho­hepa Homes, says be­ing an am­bas­sador fits per­fectly into her lifestyle and she’s hav­ing lots of fun meet­ing peo­ple and other vol­un­teers.

“I like keep­ing busy and there’s so much ac­tiv­ity at the air­port.

“You’ll never know who you’ll meet,” she said.

“The other day my old hair­dresser from Auck­land came through the doors and recog­nised me straight away.

“It was great to say hi and wel­come her to our re­gion.”

Along with getting a spe­cial am­bas­sador uni­form, the am­bas­sadors are pro­vided with free park­ing and petrol vouch­ers to help cover travel costs.

Ms Cartwright said the air­port is ex­tremely grate­ful for their vol­un­teer help and is greatly ap­pre­cia­tive of their feed­back and ideas.

“Through­out the year as the ter­mi­nal ex­pan­sion work pro­gresses we will be host­ing quar­terly catch up briefings. This means that ev­ery­one can get to­gether and we’ll be able to hear their sug­ges­tions, which will help us con­tin­u­ally im­prove in our role as the gate­way to Hawke’s Bay.”

Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Ainslie said the air­port is getting busier by the day, with over 700,000 pas­sen­gers fly­ing in and out of the air­port an­nu­ally, and fore­casted pas­sen­ger num­bers are likely to reach 1 mil­lion by 2025.

With the in­crease in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors the air­port wanted to in­tro­duce a team of vol­un­tary air­port am­bas­sadors, an ini­tia­tive that is hugely suc­cess­ful in air­ports around the world.

“There’s noth­ing like getting a warm wel­come by a lo­cal when you ar­rive some­where new. They can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on ev­ery­thing within the air­port such as bag­gage claim, lost prop­erty and ve­hi­cle hire lo­ca­tions as well as giv­ing them some tips about what to see and do while in our stun­ning re­gion,” Mr Ainslie said.

Hawke’s Bay Air­port’s new am­bas­sadors with cus­tomer ser­vice as­sis­tant Sara Cartwright, chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Ainslie (mid­dle) and op­er­a­tions man­ager Gareth Mentzer.

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