PASSENGER SERVICES Last modified on April 11, 2017

Time to shine

Asia-Pacific gateways once again lead the way in ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction awards, winning all the global best airport by size categories.

There is clearly no stopping Asia-Pacific’s airports which once again demonstrated their customer service credentials by winning a host of awards in ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) passenger satisfaction survey.

Bigger and better than ever with more airports participating (318) and more award categories, a record-equalling 62 gateways have been recognised for their customer service excellence in 2016. 

Incheon International Airport once again scooped the coveted prize for the world’s best airport handling over 40 million passengers. It is the third year running that the Seoul gateway has won the honour, this time finishing ahead of three airports that couldn’t be separated for joint second place – Singapore Changi and India’s Delhi-Indira Gandhi and Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji airports. 

China’s Beijing Capital International Airport was third to complete a memorable clean sweep for Asia-Pacific.


Customer service champion Incheon also won Best Airport in the Asia-Pacific region for the 12th successive year and Best Airport by Size and Region in the Over 40mppa category in the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia-Pacific airports actually triumphed in all the global by size categories and, for the first time in quite a few years, there were new winners in three of the five groups – Taipei Taoyuan (25-40mppa), Haikou Meilan (15-25mppa) and Hyderabad/Tianjin Binhai (5-15mppa), although in Haikou Meilan’s case it was reclaiming the crown in last won in 2014.

Jaipur International Airport has retained its status as the best airport on the planet in the global 2-5mppa category, only this time the Indian gateway has to share the honour with Guayaquil in Ecuador and Sochi in Russia.

Both Guayaquil and Sochi are multiple award winners and impressed again in 2016. The former being named Best Airport in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) for the fourth successive year and Sochi winning Best Airport in Europe outright after sharing top spot with Moscow Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg-Pulkovo in 2015.


The 2016 results also saw Sochi hold on its title of Best Airport by Size in Europe in the 2-5mppa section and Guayaquil winning the equivalent award for the LAC region, which introduced the category for the first time.

Other new category winners are Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Queen Alia in Amman, which finished top of the pile for airports handling between 5-15mppa in ACI’s LAC and Middle East regions respectively.

Punta Cana also did well in the Best Airport by Region category, finishing equal second in LAC with Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. Quito and Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (Oranjestad) came third.

Fellow Dominican Republic gateway, Puerto Plata, won Best Airport in LAC handling Under 2mppa and Queen Beatrix lifted the Most Improved Airport award for the region.

Queen Alia’s success in the new 5-15mppa category made up for it losing out on a hat-trick of wins for being Best Airport in the Middle East, its thunder in 2016 being stolen by Abu Dhabi International Airport. It was runner up though, narrowly edging out Dubai (DXB), which easily retained its status as the world’s busiest international airport last year.

Abu Dhabi International Airport, which expects to open its eagerly awaited new Midfield Terminal later this year, also won an award for the Most Improved Airport in the Middle East.


US President, Donald Trump, should take note that Indianapolis and Jacksonville shared joint top spot with Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Airport for the accolade of Best Airport in North America.

It is the fifth year in a row that Indianapolis International Airport has won the award. El Paso, Ottawa and Tampa were joint runner’s up while six gateways shared third place – Austin-Bergstrom, Dallas Love Field, Edmonton, Halifax, San Antonio and Winnipeg.

Indianapolis also retains its No. 1 ranking in the Best Airport by Size and Region category for North America for airports handing between 5 and 15 million passengers yearly.

And Indiana’s ASQ champion and Jacksonville finished joint third in the global Best by Size category for airports handling between 5-15mppa, sharing the honour with Queen Alia (Jordan), Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Cochin (India) airports. 


In the other Best by Size and Region categories for North America, the award winners are Saskatoon (Under than 2mppa); Toronto Billy Bishop (2-5mppa); Tampa (15-25mppa); Minneapolis (25-40mppa); and Dallas/Fort Worth (Over 40mppa).

Elsewhere in the world, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (SSR International) in Mauritius has cause to celebrate after winning Best Airport in Africa for the third consecutive year, once again pipping South Africa’s Durban (2nd) and Cape Town (3rd) airports to the honour.

South Africa did have one out and out ASQ winner though, Bloemfontein’s Bram Fischer International Airport, which won awards for the Best Airport in Africa handling under 2mppa and the Most Improved Airport in Africa.

Europe’s airports are used to missing out in the global by size categories, but this says more about the fierce competition they face on the world stage than anything else, as any regular reader of Airport World will know that customer service excellence and innovation is alive and kicking across the continent’s airports.

In addition to Sochi, star ASQ performers from the continent in 2016 included Moscow Sheremetyevo, which was runner up for Best Airport in Europe, and joint third placed Dublin, Malta, Porto and Zurich airports.

In terms of the Best by Size and Region awards in Europe, Murcia (Under 2mppa); Porto (5-15mppa), Vienna (15-25mppa), Moscow Sheremetyevo (25-40mppa) and London Heathrow (Over 40mppa) took the honours – the latter two for the second successive year.


Discussing soaring ASQ satisfaction scores at Heathrow in the final quarter of 2016, the gateway’s chief operating officer, Normand Boivin, remarked: “We are delighted our hard work has been recognised by our most important critics, our passengers.  

“We are committed to delivering the world’s best airport service and this year we will build on this success by further improving transfer passengers’ experience, reducing time at immigration and delivering a more personalised service for all passengers in 2017. 

“We will continue to find new ways to make them [passengers] feel excited about coming to Heathrow as well as delivering a high standard of service for years to come.”

Kraków (Poland), Columbus (USA) and Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar (Indonesia) won Most Improved Airport awards for Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific respectively.

Back in Asia-Pacific, Jaipur was another double winner after retaining its Best Airport by Size and Region title in the 2-5mppa category for Asia-Pacific.

Following suit in terms of being two time winners in the 2016 ASQ awards are Tianjin, Haikou Meilan and Taipei Taoyuan who followed up their success in the global by size categories with top spots in the respective 5-15mppa, 15-25mppa and 25-40mppa awards for the Asia-Pacific region.


Other Asia-Pacific airports to do well included Srinagar and Langkawi, which finished joint second and third respectively in the global Best by Size category for airports handling 2-5mppa; and China’s Changchun Longjia and Hohhot Baita (Inner Mongolia) airports for finishing joint second in the global Best Airport by Size category for 5-15mppa.

In the other global Best by Size awards, Sanya Phoenix and Seoul Gimpo were joint second, and Bali’s Denpasar–Ngurah Rai International Airport third, in the 15-25mppa category; and China’s Shenzhen Bao’an and Hangzhou airports were second and third respectively in the 25-40mppa group.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, was quick to heap praise on the ASQ winners and all 318 airports to take part in the organisation’s 2016 benchmarking programme.


She said: “I am delighted that as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of helping airports understand how best to serve their customers with the ASQ Programme, we see our largest group of winners ever.

“These airports have dedicated themselves to delivering a stellar customer experience. Promoting a culture of continuous service improvement has become a matter of gaining competitive advantage and optimising non-aeronautical revenue performance. 

“ACI proudly recognises these accomplishments and we look forward to seeking more effective, efficient and profitable ways of serving the flying public together.” 

The ASQ Awards Ceremony will be held at the 27th ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition in Port Louis, Mauritius, on October 16–18 October 2017.

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