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How travel and FM intersect

Jun 25, 2019
FM in an airport

The beginning and end of a trip happens in an airport. From the second a traveller arrives, to the time they leave, there is an expectation that the airport ambience is going to be easy to navigate, clean and efficient.

By adopting the tourism mindset in FM, the focus becomes ‘what can we do for travellers?’ and how we can play our part in creating a positive experience for travellers and implementing processes that the airport are happy with.

Customer Experience

Helping travellers has become second nature to Programmed’s operations staff who work in heavily trafficked areas and are often required to interact with travellers. “Tourism brings a different outcome as we want people to have a positive experience when they are travelling through the airport. Our operators are required to fix problems and provide customer service,” said David Plant, Contract Manager for Melbourne Airport. “We view ourselves as ambassadors of the airport, and consider helping people to be part of our role as an integrated maintenance provider.”

End-to-end Maintenance

Airport maintenance is constant and there is a demand on resources. When a shift ends, the maintenance cycle continues. The maintenance issues at an airport are a mix of reactive and preventative maintenance jobs. “While there are things we can’t predict, like a leak, we have changed our methodology so that a technician is assigned the leak repair job from start to finish instead of the job being handed over to a different tradesperson at the end of a shift,” David Plant explained.

“We need to maintain the area with a ‘safety-first’ mindset, and also be considerate of traveller perception. It’s about the presentation of our work and our operators. We are required to put up a barrier around an area that is being worked on, but we also want the barrier to look professional and presentable. We pay attention to the way the signage is written and the overall presentation of the barrier.”

“The coordination centre provides FM hub services for the airport, receiving up to 2800 calls a month, raising up to 1400 facilities faults and service requests a month.”


Airport FM providers are required to deliver maintenance solutions without impacting flights. The Programmed Coordination Centre was established onsite to work with the Airport Operations Team. The Coordination Centre is able to quickly notify the Airport Manager, Terminal Co-Coordinator and Ops team if there is an incident, emergency or potential issue. The true value of the Coordination Centre was realised in the lead up to an expected severe weather event. The helpdesk was able to increase resource numbers and by having a centralised information source we could simultaneously provide rapid response to issues and keep stakeholders informed.

Quality Data

The collection of quality data remains a focus for the FM teams, who are analysing the data to predict what happens when the weather changes. “We knew a heat wave was headed towards Melbourne, so we anticipated maintenance on HVAC units, instead what we found was because of the heat there were more drink spillages to attend to,” said David Plant. Collecting data is important, and having a team analyse and cleanse the data enables us to predict maintenance requests.

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