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Asia-Pacific airports once again lead the way in ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction survey, writes Joe Bates.

 Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan (Best in Middle East) and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (Best in the 25-40mppa category) were a few of the new Asia-Pacific based gateways to be honoured in this year’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction survey.

Their addition once again made it a hugely successful year for the region’s airports, which continued their dominance of ACI’s annual customer service awards by winning all but one of the five global best by size categories up for grabs.

Customer service king Incheon International Airport, which was named best airport in the world for seven successive years before ACI decided to discontinue the category in 2012, won the Best in the Over 40mppa category and retained its Best in Asia-Pacific title for the tenth year running.

Singapore Changi, Beijing Capital, Shanghai Pudong and Hong Kong completed a clean top five sweep of Asia-Pacific airports in the over 40 million passenger per annum category.

Other airports to remain top of the pile in their own respective by size categories included Haikou (5-15mppa) and Seoul Gimpo (15-25mppa) – the former being joined in the top five by China’s Sanya Phoenix, Tianjin Binhai and Changchun Longjia airports, while India’s Hyderabad–Rajiv Gandhi International Airport took third spot.

In other Asia-Pacific categories, both Kolkata (Best Improvement) and Langkawi (Fewer than 2mppa) retained their awards while Amman’s Queen Alia also won the Best Improvement award for the Middle East.

Congratulating the winners, ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, said:
“I see many airports on the 2014 top performers list that have made the cut year in and year out.

“It’s particularly satisfying to know that the benefits of the ASQ programme are long-term and far-reaching. Likewise, there are a number of new faces, effectively proving that ASQ has something to offer every airport, whether well-versed in passenger satisfaction or just beginning the journey toward customer service excellence.”

Incheon’s president and CEO, Park Wan-su, heaped praise on the airport’s staff following the gateway’s latest ASQ success.

He said: “Incheon started small as an airport in Northeast Asia that no one took much notice of, but not anymore as we have achieved some notable successes that include the almost miraculous record of being named the world’s leading airport for customer service for 10 years in a row.


“I am humbled and thankful for the efforts and contribution of the 40,000 Incheon Airport employees. 

“I can also promise you that  Incheon Airport’s staff will continue their qualitative and quantitative development, backed by the support of the government and the public, in the years ahead. Our aim remains to be the world’s best airport in all sectors of our  operations.”

Delhi–Indira Gandhi International Airport operator, DIAL, called the capturing of the ASQ award for the world’s best airport in the 25-40mppa category an historic day for Indian aviation.

Its 2014 success is based on an all-time high ASQ score of 4.90, which is a remarkable achievement considering its 3.02 rating as recently as 2007. 

DIAL CEO, I Prabhakara Rao, has no doubt about stating that the customer service transformation has occurred since the GMR led consortium took over responsibility for operating the airport.

Talking about its 2014 ASQ success, Rao said: “It’s an unprecedented achievement and a historic day for Indian aviation. 

“The award represents GMR’s commitment to providing passengers with the best customer experience and is a clear testimony of how the DNA of service centricity has been absorbed in Indira Gandhi International Airport’s culture.”

He added: “The journey was never easy, especially after holding the number two mark for last three years. We can now justifiably claim to be world’s best. 

“Our hard work and dedication has taken us from being one of the world’s worst airports for customer service to the very best.”  

In what has now become a bit of a tradition for ASQ winners, DIAL noted its thanks and congratulations to all airport staff for playing a part in the gateway’s success.

It specifically praised the airport’s customs, immigration and security officers and recognised “the immense efforts put in by our partner airlines, concessionaires, housekeeping and other support staff.”


DIAL notes that its key stakeholders –  Airports Authority of India, Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad and Fraport AG – had been “steady pillars of support through this entire journey”.

Although not a winner this time, Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport could not hide its delight at being ranked among the top three gateways in the world in 5-15mppa category for the sixth consecutive year.

The airport, operated and managed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), recording an impressive score of 4.82 for 2014.

GHIAL claimed that the accomplishment reflected its “unflinching endeavour to constantly strive to deliver service excellence and offer the best to travellers from all across the globe.”

CEO, SGK Kishore, said: “We are honoured that Rajiv Gandhi International Airport continues to be ranked among the top three airports in its category for the sixth consecutive year.

“Last year we were one of a handful of airports to be awarded the ACI Director General’s Roll of Excellence for consistently being in the top three rankings in the world in its category for five successive years. Winning this again for the sixth time reflects our commitment for delivering a high quality passenger experience on a consistent basis.” 

He added: “Make no mistake about it, an ASQ award is a major achievement for an airport and its community and the credit for this goes to our stakeholders, partners, concessionaires and employees who have consistently delivered a memorable and delightful experience to our customers.”

Based on passenger feedback from check-in to the departure gate at more than 300 airports worldwide, the ASQ survey is recognised as being the industry’s most comprehensive passenger service benchmarking tool. 

“Airports are more than simply points of departure and arrival,” said ACI World’s Gittens. 

“They are complex businesses in their own right.  As such, a focus on serving the passenger has become increasingly important to ensuring success. 

“In the fast-changing landscape of worldwide aviation, ASQ is the key to understanding how to increase passenger satisfaction and improve business performance.

“At the end of the day, good business acumen comes down to a simple equation: better service, improved traffic and a healthier bottom line.”

The ASQ Awards ceremony will take place on April 28, during the ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Jordan.

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