The world’s passengers have spoken, and they have decided that Incheon International Airport is the best gateway on the planet for the fifth successive year.
Quite simply no other airport in the history of the annual passenger satisfaction survey has got anywhere near to matching all conquering Incheon’s winning streak, the airport also securing top spot in the 25–40mppa and Asia-Pacific categories.
It was also once again a clean sweep for the Asia-Pacific region in the ‘Best Airport Worldwide’ category with Singapore Changi, Hong Kong, Beijing Capital and Hyderabad–Rajiv Gandhi completing the top five.
Says ACI director general, Angela Gittens: “I congratulate Incheon for its singular performance, having garnered the top spot for five years running. This record is no accident, nor for the others who year after year continue to receive top honours. All have learned to focus on key performance factors that their passengers most appreciate. All demonstrate that they fully understand that what pleases a passenger today becomes tomorrow’s expectation, and that to stay at the top, an airport must continuously refresh its offering and introduce new innovations that continue to delight the passenger on subsequent trips.”
Other winners are George, South Africa (Best Airport Africa; Keflavik, Iceland (Best Airport Europe; Cancún, Mexico (Best Airport Latin America & Caribbean; Tel Aviv, Israel (Best Airport Middle East) and Austin, USA (Best Airport North America).
While in the by size categories, in addition to Incheon (25–40mppa), airports picking up awards included Halifax, Canada (under 5mppa; Hyderabad, India (5–15mppa; Baltimore/Washington, USA (15–25mppa; and Hong Kong, China (over 40mppa).
‘Best Improvement Awards’ were also given to Cairo (Africa; New Delhi (Asia-Pacific; Cancún (Latin America & Caribbean; Ponta Delgada (Europe; Abu Dhabi (Middle East; and Cleveland (North America).
Explains ASQ programme director, Craig Bradbrook: “The awards recognise those airports that have made the most progress in improving service quality. The 2009 passenger ratings show that despite the economic crisis, overall satisfaction at airports increased by almost 3% worldwide compared with 2008. It is gratifying to see that 82% of the airports were rated with stable or improved performance.”
In Halifax’s case, it was the seventh straight year that it has tasted glory in the under 5mppa category and president and CEO, Tom Ruth, is no doubt about the reasons behind the airport’s winning streak. “I’m often asked what’s our secret to success,” says Ruth. “The answer is simple. It’s our people. They are our greatest asset and the reason why we continue to achieve worldwide recognition.
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when all of our many partners – airlines, retailers, and service providers – as well as our own employees and our wonderful volunteer hosts, dedicate themselves to providing the very best airport experience they can.”
Remarkably, Hyderabad International Airport operator, GHIAL, is already thinking about further improving services to ensure that it retains its 5–15mppa category title next year. CEO, P Sripathy, muses: “What next for us? We are motivated to continue to raise the bar when it comes to service quality and wish to create new benchmarks in the coming years.”
Austin-Bergstrom’s executive director, Jim Smith, reveals that his airport actually focuses on the topics that he believes his passengers feel most passionate about – the cleanliness of the terminal, cleanliness of the washrooms and courtesy and helpfulness of the airport staff.
“We actually tie our employee bonus programmes to these particular questions on the survey,” says Smith. “We put it out at the beginning of the year – what our goals are for each of those scores – and we average them over the year. There is a bonus at the end of the year if we hit those target scores.”
While Baltimore/Washington’s executive director, Paul Wiedefeld, enthuses: “We are committed to a high level of customer service that travellers expect and deserve."
Airport World 2010 - Issue 1