Visible and invisible gears of the airport

By Bill WirtzLex Kleren

Luxembourg's passenger airport Findel transported over four million people in the reference year 2019. As the airport is grappling with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hosting summer holiday travellers again, we're taking a look at the personnel that makes flying from Luxembourg Airport possible.

If buildings could speak, we would love to know what Findel airport has to tell us. Built in the 1930s, what was originally known as "Sandweiler Airport", was a short runway with minimal use in its early years. During World War II, it first served the nefarious purposes of the German occupier, then from the end of 1944 to mid-1945 served Allied forces for reconnaissance flights, as well as material and personnel transport. It was only as Luxembourg's economy developed through the second half of the 20th century that Luxembourg's airport gathered significance. Today, it operates with one terminal, a wide array of European destinations, gathering holiday flights and business travellers alike.

Being lost and finding

An airport is a lieu of emotions: passengers hurrying to catch the last flight home, relationships reuniting in the arrival hall, stranded travellers frustrated over delays, businesspeople working on last-minute graphs on their notebooks, children jumping up and down in anticipation of the holidays.

Arriving at and departing from an airport can be disorienting, both for locals who have used it before but even more for foreigners arriving for the first time. Vanessa Lopes gets to see it all. The Infodesk agent says that her service is the mirror of the entire company: "We're the first point of contact for passengers, be it on the phone or in person." Vanessa points out that it's essential to keep a clear head – at times, passengers can be frustrated, but the bottom line is finding a solution to their problem. Communication is key, which is why it helps that her service is multi-lingual. English is obviously important, but with an increasing number of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking customers, it is helpful that the staff can cater to those needs as well. Elderly passengers are often not fluent in English and those who most need help navigating their way around an airport.

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Visible and invisible gears of the airport

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