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Airport Total Quality Management and Customer Service (Classroom, 5 days)

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Did you know that in the past 4 years, 68 participants from 15 countries have taken this course with IATA?


Total Quality Management (TQM) defines a management concept for long-term success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, services and their work culture with a goal to meet or exceed the expectations of their customers.

Modern airports have acknowledged the importance of ensuring a positive customer experience. Focusing on passenger satisfaction rankings and passenger spending, airports should review their strategies for the future to incorporate the concepts of TQM and customer experience.

Besides service level agreements and measurements, airports are starting to focus more on satisfaction drivers and customer expectations, while also adopting TQM techniques and methodologies of other sectors, such as logistics, hospitality and telecommunications. TQM is the ideal mechanism for airports to combine, coordinate and integrate the quality management initiatives in the diverse airport activities, while ensuring continuous quality improvement.

Customer service and experience has evolved into an integral component of every airport’s strategy and has similar principles with TQM. Both require a holistic approach and can become sources of competitive advantage and brand differentiation. When we look across other industries - for example, Uber and Airbnb – we can see great examples of how customer experience design and thinking can make significant, positive changes to a brand and an industry; all by putting the customer at the center of their business.

This 5-day course provides you with practical guidelines and case studies using TQM concepts for you to adopt in your respective strategies, going beyond the compliance phase. It also analyses customer experience, beyond simple airport customer service, towards a seamless and memorable experience.

This course is available at IATA Training Centers, Regional Training Partner locations, and on-demand as in-company training.

Course format

  • This classroom course provides 5 days (40 hours) of instruction delivered by an official IATA Instructor.
  • Student performance will be based on an assessment


  • Participants should have prior knowledge of airport business and operations
  • Recommended level is Management and Professional
  • The recommended level of language proficiency is ICAO Operational Level 4 for courses in English or equivalent for other languages.

Next class

Oct 21 - Oct 25, 2019 - South Africa, Johannesburg (ATNS-RTP)
4 additional classes are scheduled. See all

What you will learn

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Define the concept of TQM and the benefits for airports
  • Summarize latest approaches and best practices in TQM within the airport industry as well other service sectors
  • Define the framework of an airport TQM strategy and how it impacts the airport’s activities
  • Describe the benefits of excellent passenger experience
  • Create an implementation plan for delivering excellent passenger experience

Course content

  • What is quality and Total Quality Management (TQM)
    • Definition of quality
    • Principles of TQM
    • Elements of TQM and implementation
  • TQM for airport business
    • Application of TQM
    • Quality assessment
    • Airport best practices in TQM
  • TQM for airport operations
  • TQM for the environment
    • The impact of TQM on environmental activities
  • Benchmarking quality
    • Measuring and evaluating quality internally
    • Benchmarking with other airports
  • Integrated Quality Management Systems (QMS) for airports
    • The holistic approach of integrating the quality concept for all airport activities
    • Airport community stakeholders and integrated quality performance
    • The challenge of buying-in from the organization and the airport community
  • Introduction to customer service
    • Definition of customer experience for airports
    • The benefits of introducing a customer service strategy
    • The business context of airport customer experience
  • Customer insights
    • The different sources of customer information
    • Understanding benchmarking
  • Customer journey mapping
    • Introduction to customer journey mapping
    • The use of customer journey mapping for airports
  • Creating a customer experience roadmap
  • Best practice approaches to exceptional service within and outside the airport industry
    • Examples and applications of current customer processing tools
    • E-services and social media applications used in airports and elsewhere for exceptional service
    • Setting service standards and aligning them across stakeholders, understanding service quality and delivering consistency
  • Creating a customer service culture
    • Creating an environment of care and action to inspire people to perform
    • Emotional intelligence and cross-cultural understanding
    • Current best practice approaches to engaging, energizing, and motivating airport employees and airport partners
    • Recognition and reward initiatives and their successes in the industry

Download the course outline


  • Analysis and application of TQM cases studies
  • Preparation and presentation a TQM plan for improving operational challenges
  • Team Project: Development and presentation of a TQM plan for a model airport

Who should attend

This course is recommended for:

  • Airport and Airline managers
  • Airport Marketing, Commercial, Strategy, Quality Management, Operations, Customer Service departments
  • Aviation industry consultants and analysts

Certificate awarded

An IATA Certificate of Completion is awarded to participants obtaining a grade of 70% or higher on all exercises and exams. A special distinction is awarded to participants obtaining a grade of 90% or higher.

This course is a step toward earning an IATA Diploma in:

Additional information

About IATA Classroom Training
We train more than 10,000 aviation professionals annually through our global network of IATA Training Centers, Regional Training Partners, and in private in-house sessions. Our 300+ classroom courses are developed using IATA’s unique industry insight and delivered by IATA Instructors, experts in their fields. More

Further training
Graduates of this course can apply for the Harvard ManageMentor© (HMM) distance learning program at a special graduate price.

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