OmniServ and Ryanair create world class ground handling solution

BlueHandling, the new ground handling solutions team created by OmniServ for Ryanair at its key Stanstead hub, has already delivered a 90% improvement on performance and satisfaction levels compared with a year ago, under the previous supplier.

Ryanair is Europe’s Number 1 airline, carrying more than 138 million customers a year on more than 2,500 daily flights from 86 bases, connecting 224 destinations in 37 countries. In 2018, Ryanair identified an opportunity to improve its ground handling operations at its biggest airport, Stansted, and put the contract out to tender. After an extensive review, Ryanair selected OmniServ, the European arm of global airport and airline services supplier, ABM, to work with it on delivering a bold new vision.

In only three months, OmniServ worked seamlessly with the local Ryanair team, headed up by Chris Hughes, to develop and implement a completely new operation, Blue Handling, with nearly 1,000 staff. Just over half came over from the previous supplier under TUPE regulations, while OmniServ recruited another 450.

The new Blue Handling operation is now responsible for Ryanair’s above- and below-wing ground handling, providing baggage agents, ramp agents, toilet and water services, de-icing, runway services, cargo handling and ticket desk staff.

Blue Handling only officially launched in February 2019; but year-over-year, the new ground handling operation is already delivering outstanding service levels.

OmniServ developed a new brand identity, logos and uniforms – previously, there had been no single corporate identity for Ryanair’s Stansted ground handling operations.

All employees completed extensive training to unite them behind the new brand and instil them with a sense of mission – to provide the best possible service for Ryanair’s passengers.

At the same time, Ryanair significantly invested in new equipment, including vehicles and technologies that improved the employee and passenger experience.

Rob Stefanovic, Senior Commercial Manager at OmniServ, says: “We wanted team members to feel part of the brand. They now have a strong sense of teamwork, passion and pride in their jobs.”

Ryanair’s Chris Hughes adds: “We wanted to win the hearts and minds of all employees, old and new, and we did that by delivering an extensive staff engagement programme that really sold them on the brand and got them feeling pride and passion again.”

Ryanair Operations Director Adrian Dunne observes: “Blue Handling has been a major success, and was up and running very quickly, delivering above and beyond what we would have expected. For example, recent severe weather disruption with thunderstorms over England saw a large number of cancellations and aircraft and crews usually based elsewhere stuck in Stansted. I was delighted and very proud at how Blue Handling rose to this challenge with 18 ticket desks opened to assist passengers, staff from all areas of the operations pitching in to help, and all bags delivered on time. These efforts helped keep the level of cancellations to a minimum, with compliments from Stansted airport on how well Blue Handling had performed in such challenging circumstances.”