Link Agency: serving 140 airlines associated with quality worldwide

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Link Aero Trading Agency is a ground handling company founded in 1992 offering handling and diplomatic clearances at any airport in Egypt, Africa, Middle East, Far East, central and South America airports, in addition to some airports around the globe. It has expanded in both the Egyptian and global markets, serving more than 120 prominent airlines and offering quality services. Airline Ground Services (AGS) speaks to Amr Samir (AS), Chairman, Link Agency

AGS       We understand that Link Aero Trading Agency has ISAGO accreditation at your headquarters operation and at Luxor. Please would you explain how this accreditation assists you commercially, how it helps to differentiate you and what it means to your customer airlines?

AS           Following the successful completion of the ISAGO audit on our Corporate HDQ and Luxor station, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) registered Link Agency as an ISAGO provider in 2010 and we are currently undergoing the renewal of ISAGO registration for the Corporate HDQ and LXR station. This high level of international accomplishment certainly ensures the efficiency of the ground operations services provided by the company and gives more credibility to the company for our clients and target clients. Furthermore, we are currently getting prepared for ISAGO registration for the remaining stations in Egypt and Jordan.

AGS       Are all your stations currently located in Egypt and Jordan? Do you have aspirations to expand into North Africa and into the Middle East? What is your corporate plan and what timescales have you allocated to it?

AS           Link Agency has got fixed base offices at all Egyptian and Jordanian airports, equipped with necessary communication facilities, ie tel, fax, email, SITA and VHF. We are also finalising the formalities for opening permanent branches at some of the airports in Africa and The Middle East to fulfil all customers’ needs. Added to that, our Global Flight Support Department offers full handling and traffic rights permissions within Africa, Middle East, Far East, Central and South America. Our Global Flight Support team has been increasing in size as we have employed more staff worldwide, strongly widening our network of communication with Civil Aviation Authorities and airports within Africa, Middle East, Far East, Central and South America.

AGS       How are you diversifying your services? Presumably security services are a potential growth area for you? Are you also investing in catering provision and other services?

AS           Over the past 20 years, Link Agency has been providing a wide and diversified array of services, completely integrated to meet global requirements and fulfil our customer’s needs. Some of these services are: representation against the Civil Aviation Authority, airports slots coordination, passenger handling, full ground handling supervision services, flight operations and dispatch, excess baggage collection, ticketing services, hotel reservations, transportation, full handling of ambulance flights, full handling of military and governmental flights, aircraft line maintenance and cargo handling.

Furthermore, we have recently developed an innovative concept in aviation security which depends upon highly trained staff to perform security services in the terminal area, including: security access control, passengers profiling and document checks. This is in addition to providing security services on the tarmac including: ramp and aircraft access control, catering and cabin deck checks, aircraft guarding and ramp operations control. Moreover, Link Agency In-flight Services team provides airlines with supreme aviation catering services at all Egyptian airports, as well as at airports in Africa, the Middle East and Far East. We supply expanded food and beverage menus, consisting of the most frequently requested items or we can tailor any type of menu as per our customers’ requirements.

AGS       What proportion of your revenues are associated with VIP and governmental private flights? How have you invested in handling this slice of the market?

AS           VIP and private jets handling occupies a considerable part of our business. Our general aviation team is dedicated to the smooth and efficient handling of all non-scheduled, business and private aircraft and VIP passengers. They provide personalised “Meet & Assist” services during arrival and departure, full completion of check-in procedures, speedy clearance throughout immigration, customs and security formalities and admittance to VIP and business class lounges. It is worth mentioning that Link Agency also handles military and governmental flights for most embassies in Egypt like American, British, German, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Serbian, Hungarian and many others.

AGS       How have you been innovative in your support of customer airlines? What can you provide in terms of ticketing, excess baggage fee collection, managing delays, handling passengers with reduced mobility, and other services?

AS           Link Agency is always looking for ways within the company to be innovative and increase the level of services rendered to client carriers in addition to increasing revenue for airlines. Accordingly, we created a dedicated team to be responsible for ticketing sales and to meet last minute changes through our offices at all Egyptian airports. We did this to give support to scheduled airlines operating to different airports. We currently provide ticketing for Austrian Airlines and we used to provide ticketing for Swiss Airlines scheduled flights into Cairo Airport. We also provide excess baggage collection where we have been awarded on many occasions the best Station worldwide in excess baggage revenues.

AGS       Are you a cargo handler too? What systems, processes and facilities have you invested in to ensure you can offer the highest levels of service?

AS           Yes, Link Agency also provides handling to cargo flights. The manifests are prepared before the flight, the required formalities are completed and the relevant operation personnel are provided with the exact load and weight information. The success of the cargo service procedures depends on flawless performance, which requires careful and detailed working. The working principles and high performance of the employees have a big role in the success we have achieved in cargo services.

AGS       What is the secret to the commercially successful and safe performance of a ground handling contract with a customer airline?  

AS           Today Link Agency holds a distinguished customer list containing more than 140 scheduled, charter, private and cargo airlines whose names are associated with quality worldwide. The secret of a successful ground handling contract with such airlines lays in the continuous improvement of the quality service rendered to our customers based on their needs and also the market demand. We also strive to combine performance with value pricing, offering tailor-made quotations to suit our clients’ budgets.

We also continually develop our potential by acquisition of key personnel who possess the necessary knowledge, skills and training. We focus on delivering constant training to our personnel, either through in-house training carried out in our training room which fully equipped with necessary facilities, giving them external courses, delivering e-learning sessions or through training programmes conducted by some of our biggest client airlines. The latter represents a arge step towards understanding the service concept and commercial policies of these airlines.