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From Perth to Narita, Japan: A chat with Swissport’s Kate Langdale

Swissport’s Kate Langdale has swapped Perth for Narita, Japan for a ten-week project working with the local Swissport team. We asked Kate to share some insights from her first couple of weeks.

Kate, can you tell us where you are and what you are doing?
I am currently in Narita, Japan (NRT) for a ten-week period assisting with passenger service handling for a new contract. I have also been supporting the team members with their English pronunciation during downtime – we call it “English lessons with Kateo-san”.

What can you tell us about the Swissport team in Narita?
Swissport in Narita handles around 18 airlines across two different terminals with approximately 350 staff for ground operations. All customer service team members are minimum bilingual, speaking Japanese and English with quite a few speaking additional languages on top of that, which is very impressive. They are all very polite, helpful and thankful towards their colleagues as well as their customers. It is amazing to see and they should be very proud of these traits.

What are you looking forward to?
I have learnt so much about the different operations amongst the Swissport group, positions within Swissport Japan and of course on a local level here in Narita. I am looking forward to seeing the progress and confidence of the team members grow over the next few weeks and to see a smooth/successful operation with a strong rapport and relationship with the client by the end of my time in NRT. I am also looking forward to squeezing as much sight-seeing in as possible.

What things are different in Narita compared with Perth?
I could talk for hours about this topic – rosters, hours, annual leave, airlines, roles, kiosks, self-bag drops – the list goes on. It is like a whole different world; it has been an eye-opener in a positive way and I am so grateful to be given such a fantastic opportunity.

What is the food like so far?
I haven’t been too adventurous just yet, I have been sticking to basic foods so far, but who knows after 10 weeks what I would have tried by then.

Will you have time for sightseeing? If so, what is on your list?
I was lucky enough to have last weekend off, so I went down to Tokyo as it is my first time to Japan. I decided to stick to the popular things to start with, but getting some insights from the local team on what to see and do.

Thank you so much for sharing, Kate! And all the best for the rest of your stay in Narita.

Kate has been a highly valued member of the Swissport team for more than eight years and her permanent position is Customer Service Manager Virgin Australia – Perth.

Swissport International AG, on behalf of more than 850 client-companies, provides best-in-class airport ground services for some 265 million passengers annually and handles approximately 4.7 million tonnes of air cargo at 133 warehouses worldwide. With a workforce of 68,000, the world’s leading provider of ground and air cargo services, is active at 315 airports in 50 countries across all five continents. In 2017 the group generated consolidated operating revenue of EUR 2.8 billion.


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