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With travel and tourism emerging as the world’s largest and fastest growing sector—representing more than 10% of global spending—many airports are experiencing substantial growth in transborder and international flights. What has established Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport as a leading example of success is its ability to be both proactive and progressive in managing this growth. Following Transport Canada’s transfer of management, operations and development to Aéroport de Québec inc. in 2000, it set ambitious expansion and modernization goals, prioritized timely collaborations with governments and the business community, and achieved organizational excellence.
In 2008, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport completed a massive expansion and modernization project just in time to usher in a new era of exceptional growth—with the next four years alone representing a 52% increase in passenger traffic. In 2010, numbers climbed to over 1.2 million passengers per annum and if current trends continue, the airport projects a total of 1.5 million passengers by 2015 and close to 2 million by 2020.
David Robin, Manager, Security and Safety, says, “There is no question that ensuring the safety of our passengers, air carriers, employees and partners is a critical, 24/7 priority—whether it’s prevention, response, intervention or regulation enforcement. If there are expansion and modernization projects in progress, Airport Security needs to closely monitor and safeguard these activities over and above our day-to-day commitments. If there is a security-related risk, incident or emergency, our security professionals are the first to intervene. We need to be vigilant no matter how many distractions, challenges or changes may exist, but we also need to be trained, equipped and ready to protect and support the airport’s continuous growth.”
“Although heightened alertness and enhanced security measures ramped up after 9/11,” Robin says, “the Airport Security Team’s most recent and biggest challenge was the massive expansion and modernization project that began in 2006 and was completed in 2008.”
“In the years since,” he continues, “we have already begun to plan for further enhancements to our cutting-edge facilities in response to growing demand. For example, the international arrivals area will soon be expanded and a pre-clearance facility for US flights will be added. There are also a number of improvements or new initiatives planned for taxiways, parking, accommodations and various operational and security-related processes and technologies. As we manage this growth, our security challenges are ever-present and we simply cannot afford to let our guard down at any time.”
Robin says, “To help us achieve greater consistency and continuity in all of our security operations, the Airport Security Team relies on commissionaires to be part of the solution. Our relationship with them goes all the way back to 1968. It has grown over time, especially after 9/11 and during the airport’s expansion and modernization project in 2006-2008.”
Today, about 40 commissionaires ensure a consistent, reliable and stable presence in both public and restricted areas of the airport, whether it’s inside or outside the terminal building. They serve as foot and vehicle patrollers; dispatchers; access, crowd and traffic controllers; administrators; and officers.
One of the most effective operational improvements that has transformed how Commissionaires Québec communicates and collaborates with its client is to restructure the lead supervisor’s role into that of a Liaison Agent.
Miville Berthelot, Liaison Agent, explains, “There has been so much growth that it’s no surprise security-related requirements as well as the need for timely and efficient responses have increased in volume, frequency and urgency. While I continue to ‘supervise’ and report to management at Commissionnaires Quebec, as a Liaison Agent I now have a more hands-on role managing our security resources and responding to our client’s immediate and long-term needs. By working more closely with Robin and his team, our approach is now more integrated and effective in all that we do.”
Robin adds that in recent years, Airport Security has dedicated itself to more in-depth planning, training, procedural improvements and systemic upgrades than ever before. No matter how demanding these and other challenges have been, he accredits Commissionaires for being actively involved, open to change, and capable of meeting his team’s needs around-the-clock.
Robin says, “Commissionaires are known and respected for their dedication to meticulous compliance and a strong sense of teamwork. They are driven to find solutions quickly and effectively, and they do so while remaining alert of their surroundings at all times.”
“They also have the capacity to expand their numbers to meet our needs—whether additional commissionaires are assigned to participate in or accommodate audits, investigations, inspections, planning, communications, special training, new processes, or critical projects. This helps us protect and support the airport’s continuous growth,” he says.
“It is a pleasure working with commissionaires,” he continues. “Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport values their experience, knowledge, competence and professionalism.
Commissionaires have a longstanding relationship with us and we consider them a valuable part of our security team.”
In 2011, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport plans to begin a second phase of expansion that will unfold over the course of a few years.
Berthelot adds, “We are here for the airport no matter what happens, ready to adapt and advance in step with the security team—whatever it takes.”
Commissionaires’ relationship with Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport is but one example. From Vancouver to Halifax, Commissionaires provides a diverse range of private security services to many airports of all classes.