It’s spring, and Kirsten Paarup is busy. Summer is around the corner and by then Billund Airport, Denmark’s second largest, will be inundated with passengers going to and from the three nearby theme parks: Legoland Billund, Lalandia Aquadome and the Lion Park at Givskud Zoo. With twelve years of experience managing the cleaning crews at the airport, Kirsten knows that there’s only one way of coping with the summer crowds: planning.
Managing peaks in washroom traffic is a familiar challenge to cleaning and facility managers all over the world. Kirsten Paarup, Cleaning Manager at Billund Airport, is no exception. We catch up with her as she and her crews have just switched into to what she refers to as summer mode.
“We notice an increase in the number of passengers around the Easter holidays, then it grows steadily and as we enter the last week of June, the curve goes vertical.”
With a 40,000 sqm main terminal, plus the old terminal and auxiliary buildings, a total of around 125 washrooms and 3.5 million annual passengers to take care of, it’s no wonder that Kirsten has a lot on her mind.
“I use load factor projections from our marketing department along with other data to estimate how many passengers we should expect over the coming months and where our largest peaks in traffic will occur. Billund Airport is growing at a fantastic rate. Last year the number of passengers grew by 9.2 percent. And over the first three months of 2018, we’ve seen growth of another 11.2 percent!”
“My main concern is having enough people. In the winter period, from October to April, my staff numbers about 60. In summer mode, we’re around 100. And since many of my regular staffers go on holiday during the summer, we need to find a lot of extra people every summer.” A process that becomes even more complicated by the fact that all airport personnel have to go through thorough background checks. “And then we have to train them. A lot of people think they can clean, but it’s not as easy as it looks“, Kirsten says with a smile.
Something else that needs planning is supplies. “Every washroom gets a thorough cleaning every day, and most gets checked and restocked about eight times. We use the same equipment throughout the year, but during the summer our consumables fly off our shelves.”
The airport is open around the clock, but the passengers come in waves. “Normally, we experience our biggest peaks in traffic at about 10, 14 and 18 o’clock, when many flights land and take off again. But sometimes peaks come at unexpected times.” So what happens when people are on sick leave and she doesn’t have enough staff available to handle the peaks? “Well, if push comes to shove, we can cut down on the frequency of some of our other cleaning activities a little bit. But we never compromise when it comes to our washrooms. A clean washroom is such a fundamental part of our guest experience. And since we use Tork PeakServe now, we don’t have to refill the dispensers as often, which frees up time that we can spend on keeping other areas of the airport as clean as our guests have come to expect.”