Professionalising Operations for an International Airport in East Africa


The client was an international port operator. In view of the robust growth expected and its strategic location, the client acquired an airport and a seaport in the region. However, the top management faced the following key issues:

  • High manpower costs due to an absence of a well-defined shift structure (overtime cost accounted 19 percent of the total costs)
  • Lack of clarity on organisation and operational roles and procedures
  • Absence of a well-defined compensation strategy

Thus, the client requested UC to professionalise the operations for the company.

Our Approach

In order to address the key issues the top management was facing, and to improve the operations, UC did the following:

  • Examined the existing organisation structure across departments
  • Identified non-core areas where the management could divest its stake to the government
  • Examined operational issues and outline recommendations in line with industry benchmarks
  • Identified opportunities for increasing focus - cargo business in light of industry trends
  • Analysed gaps in the internal compensation structure
  • Defined the way forward for an implementation of a Shared Service Model (SSM) with the sea port


The client received the process optimisation in areas of passenger handling and load control, preventive maintenance activities to minimise breakdowns, and inventory management for spares. It also obtained a redesigned organisation structure and an optimisation of the shift structure in line with air traffic, resulting in the reduction in overtime hours to the extent of 70 per cent. Detailed job descriptions with distinctly defined roles and responsibilities. Key performance indicators were also documented. An estimated cost reduction, as a result of the defined Shared Service Model (SSM) with the seaport, was given.