Ibrahim Wisham is a passionate Airport Representative with over 10 years of experience. Currently, he works at Universal Resorts and is in-charge of handling guests from Kuramathi, Maafushivaru, and Kandolhu. Previously he was an Airport Representative at Kaimoo Hotels and Resorts.
What are your responsibilities as an Airport Representative?
As you all know, we, reps are in charge of greeting the guests when they arrive, making sure they depart to their respective resorts, receive the guest arriving from the resorts, assisting them to check-in and making sure they leave to their homeland, happy. We have to be very punctual because we can’t afford to miss any flights, ferry or seaplane. If we ever get late, guests won’t be able to check-in to their flights. This will create chaos at the airport.
The most important part of our job is to make a good first impression with our guests since we are the first people they meet when they arrive in Maldives. If we make a bad impression to begin with, then no matter how good the services are or how many complementary things you offer, will not satisfy the guest. A first impression can change a guest’s perception towards our country and our resort. So it’s a huge responsibility to make our guests happy and satisfied because an unhappy guest can write a bad review which will affect our resort’s reputation.
What is your routine on a busy day at the Airport?
Sunday is the busiest day of the week. On Sundays we have about 80 to 100+ guests scheduled to arrive from all the flights combined. Usually, 2 Reps will be on duty and one will be assigned to receive the guests and the other rep will be marking the names on the arrival sheet.
Speedboat transfer for all the guests scheduled to arrive in the morning will be departing to the resorts latest by 11:30 am. If a guest misses their transfer, they will have to wait for the next speedboat scheduled at 4:00 pm. So it’s our responsibility to make sure all the guest arrived at our airport, departs safely to their respective resorts, and on time. Normally, we will be going back and forth from the arrival of the first guest to the time they depart, making sure everyone departs safely.
In the 10 years you have been working, what was the most memorable experience as an Airport Rep?
Every day is an exciting day at the airport. Sometimes we meet famous celebrities and football players. Being a hardcore football fan, one of the memorable days for me was when I met Arjen Robben and Andrea Pirlo. Pirlo is a retired Italian player, last played for Juventus. Robben is a Dutch who plays for German club Bayern Munich.
What are the difficulties you face on a daily basis as an Airport Rep?
Heat exhaustion is the biggest gripe. Both from us and the arrivals. The average temperature in this tropical island is around 30 Degree. In this heat, we have to walk back and forth from the departure area to the arrival area and to the jetty. Also, all the resort booths are out in the open with fans installed above. Though it doesn’t help the heat issue we face every day during our shifts.
Another thing is lack of free Wi-Fi access at the International Airport. This complaint has been raised by almost every guest, not to mention us locals as well. It’s actually very difficult for the guests when they don’t have Wi-Fi access to inform their family and friends that they have landed safely.
There’s not enough space for docking the speedboat at the jetty. This leads to a lot of delays, sometimes even around half an hour delay. Since our speedboat is around 100ft long, it requires a little more space than the average speedboat.
The lack of AC Lounges is something that new tourists have problems with. The early arrivals will have to wait for their speedboat transfers for about 3 hours sometimes, waiting in the heat. Since we do not have a comfortable waiting area, a lot of guests complain about it.
Another thing is when it rains and the entire airport floods. On a rainy day, water leaks from the ceiling and wells up from the sewer junctions. This is a common issue raised by almost everyone who works at the airport. Guests won’t be able to stay in the waiting area during hours like this. It would solve a lot of problems if lounge services were available for the guest.