Multilingual skills on display at Bristol Airport near Nailsea

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By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, January 23, 2014, 11:41

Linguists at Bristol Airportare are using their language skills to help visitors.

The North Somerset airport customer experience team has responded to the rising number of overseas visitors passing through the terminal by compiling a database detailing members of staff with language

The comprehensive catalogue covers 34 different languages, from Bengali to Tagalog and as well as spoken tongues, sign language skills are also included.  

Members of the Airport team can now quickly and easily contact colleagues able to help when dealing with customers unable to understand English.

The number of foreign residents using Bristol Airport has almost trebled in the past decade, with more than a million journeys made by overseas visitors in 2012.  

Analysis of data from the Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Survey shows that an estimated 18 per cent of the airport's passengers were based outside the UK, with visitors hailing from a total of 82 different countries.

 Bristol Airport head of Ccstomer operations Alison Roberts said: "As the number of overseas visitors using Bristol Airport grows, our team are increasingly required to call on their own or colleagues' language skills when assisting customers.  

"The language database makes it quicker and easier to identify a colleague who can help when a language barrier is encountered."

 Last year Bristol Airport became the first British airport to achieve accreditation from WorldHost, the world-leading customer welcome programme used to train nearly a million people worldwide, including tens of thousands of staff and volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

The programme has been endorsed by Visit England and covers customer service skills and awareness of different cultures with the aim of ensuring visitors to the UK receive a warm and friendly welcome.

Bristol Airport is the UK's fifth largest airport outside London and the ninth largest in the UK.  

Planning permission is in place to develop and enhance facilities to enable Bristol to handle 10 million passengers per annum.  

Development commenced in November 2011 and the first of more than 30 separate projects – the construction of three new aircraft stands – was completed in spring 2012.  

Other major components include a central walkway designed to accommodate future long-haul services and set for completion in June 2014, an extension to the terminal building to almost double its size, a new multi-level car-park with public transport interchange on its top level, and an on-site hotel.

Bristol Airport directly employs approximately 200 people with a wider employee community of nearer 3,000 from North Somerset and beyond and offers direct services to more than 100 airports across the world.

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