A pilot who drove the family of an injured customer to hospital so they could be with her, a cabin-crew administrator who worked to save equipment from flooding when he could have gone out celebrating New Year’s Eve, and a customer service agent who started a campaign to collect gifts for kids at a children’s home. These are just a few of the top 10 selfless Comair employees who were lauded at the company’s Annual Catalyst Awards, which honours those who exemplify the company’s ethos of ‘We Lift You Up’. In each instance, the recipient is rewarded not simply for meeting their job requirements, but for going beyond the call of duty.
The Comair top 10 high-flyers were selected from 90 nominations received throughout the year. On Thursday night, 15 March 2018, Comair hosted a formal dinner for the top achievers and their spouses, to recognise and thank them for their efforts and for making a difference. Comair CEO Erik Venter says, “These wonderful people have all been nominated for exceptional efforts that exemplify the company’s values of innovation, a passion for service, integrity and leadership. But more than that, they display the kind of humanity that contributes to making us a better organisation and a better nation.”
Venter continues; “Our purpose, ‘We Lift You Up’, drives our aspiration to lift people up in an inspiring, empowering, passionate and innovative way, to render a positive impact in the world, which is exactly what our top 10 champions have demonstrated through their exceptional behaviour.”
Mpho Mukhumeni received the top award for her contribution to Comair’s success and for not only consistently displaying the Comair ethos, but also consistently going beyond her call of duty.
- Nandipha Ntsaluba, a Customer Service Agent won kudos from a traveller who’d missed flights, had her laptop and phone stolen in Hong Kong and then faced the prospect of missing her connecting flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport to Cape Town, were her one-year-old baby waited. Crisis? Enter Nandipha. The customer wrote, “I honestly don't know when I've got better service from anyone while travelling, so I asked her for her supervisor's email address so I could make sure you knew about it. Travel is pretty stressful when things have gone wrong and having a person like Nandi drop everything and just help you is the most amazing thing.”
- Captain Dawid van Staden: a passenger lost her footing on the stairs while disembarking a flight and sustained some injuries and was taken to hospital. Captain van Staden realised that they would be without transport once the passenger was discharged and drove their vehicle to the hospital. Venter says, “Dawid could easily have gone home following a long day on duty, but he chose to act with empathy and a passion to serve.”
- Jacques Coetzee, an Assistant Crew Administrator: Jacques was recognised for a number of actions, including saving valuable equipment and furniture when the communal crew room flooded. On New Year’s Eve, a contractor was unavailable to emergency maintenance work, so Jacques borrowed a friend’s toolbox to do the work himself. Venter says, “Jacques exemplifies Comair’s culture of excellence and service, and is a role-model for us all.”
- Kelebogile Mabote, a Customer Service Supervisor: not only has Kelebogile been lauded for her pursuit of organisational excellence and creativity, but she also motivates her colleagues to help those in need. When Comair launched “Make a difference in the life of a sick child,” Kelebogile collected donations from her colleagues, bought gifts and then mustered her colleagues to package them. Venter says, “Kelebogile’s passion for others is contagious. Her next area of focus is sanitary pads for young girls and support for the Summayah Nkosi Foundation.”
- Mags Reddy, a Corporate Reservations Agent: Mags has been lauded by kulula passengers whose flight home from Zanzibar to Johannesburg was diverted to Durban when O.R. Tambo International Airport was closed. Both had fallen ill while in Zanzibar. One of the passengers phoned Mags, who was off-duty and having supper at the airport. She did all she could to rebook them and to find them hotel-rooms in Durban. Venter says, “Everyone at Comair should aim to emulate Mags’s hospitality and sunny outlook.”
- Marthina Schuster, a Customer Service Supervisor at Cape Town International Airport: Marthina’s service excellence and her mentorship of her junior team-members continues to earn her kudos from customers and colleagues. Venter says, “Month after month, Marthina gets positive feedback. That can only happen when someone lives the values of leadership, integrity, passion for service and innovation.”
- Olga Ani, a Customer Service Supervisor, helped an elderly customer who was stuck at O.R. Tambo International because she didn’t have a UK transit visa. It was late and she had no money for a hotel-room. Olga took her home and accommodated her for the night, then took her back to O.R. Tambo International Airport the next morning, so she could fly home. Through all this, Olga remained in contact with the customer’s daughter in UK to reassure her of the lady’s welfare.
- Theuns Dreyer, a Ramp Manager, probably one of the most exciting jobs in our industry, has brought many innovations to improve the airline’s on-time performance as well as attended many workshops and put hours in to ensure we are compliant with the IOSA standards. Theuns is a senior chairman in conducting disciplinary hearings: a solid and dependable member of the Comair team.
- Captain Tommie Rautenbach: in addition to studying a B.com he has developed his personal expertise in carbon emissions and now implementing the carbon emissions reporting standards in Comair through his role in the Flight Technical Department.
Venter concludes; “Beyond Comair’s financial results, on-time performance, net promoter scores and the many other ways we measure ourselves, the true worth of Comair lies in our people.”