You arrive at the airport, get your boarding pass and check your luggage in. Then it’s bye-bye to the loved ones and through the gates you go. The flight is bang on schedule and, before you know it, you’re ready to blast down the runway.
This smooth running at Lanseria International Airport is the work of Cheryl Mongie, schedules manager.
But the title “schedules manager” is a bit of a misnomer; Mongie’s job is much more far reaching. Plus, with a staff complement of 96 people spread across so many areas of the airport (for example, check-in, boarding, baggage handling, passenger marshalling and meet and greet), it is undoubtedly one of Lanseria’s most demanding.
The airport’s current rate of growth presents additional challenges. As does the fact that Mongie and her team have to wear “two hats” – besides representing Lanseria, they also have to act in the best interests of the individual airlines.
As such, Mongie has to ensure strict adherence to airport, airline and Civil Aviation Authority requirements. This means constant training for her and her team – firstly in each airline’s process, quality and procedures; then also Lanseria’s safety, airside induction, dangerous goods, Avsec aviation security training, conflict management, first aid, basic fire-fighting, passenger handling and emergency procedure training.
Mongie herself, along with her supervisors, has to be able to implement crisis management almost before the need arises. Generally – especially with a delay, which Mongie says is considered a crisis – this entails thinking ahead.
Should a crisis occur, her team needs to facilitate and take the lead with the other departments in order to ensure quick resolution. Mongie’s department is very much the centre point of the airport operations. “We have to manage the situation and ensure the passenger reaches his destination as quickly as possible without compromising safety,” she says.
Mongie, who previously worked for Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), is proud to hold the position she does at Lanseria, even though it is a smaller operation. “I love the challenges here,” she says. “We want to achieve a smooth and seamless operation, from the minute the passenger parks his car to the time he boards.”