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APA1 2024 NEWS

Everyone’s a winner!

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Airports from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East once again shine in ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards for customer experience excellence in 2023.

Airports from across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have earned themselves a reputation for providing outstanding customer service over the years, and this trend continued in 2023 with 31 different gateways winning Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.

The winners, which included 27 from Asia-Pacific and four from the Middle East, were among a total of 90 airports from around the world to be honoured in the 2023 ASQ Awards.

As usual, the winning airports ranged from small domestic airports handling only a few hundred thousand passengers a year to megahubs welcoming in excess of 100 million passenger per annum.

The big hubs winning at least one ASQ Award included Singapore Changi; Incheon in South Korea and China’s Guangzhou Baiyun, Shenzhen Bao’an and Beijing
Daxing airports.

While Salalah and Muscat in Oman and Queen Alia International Airport (Jordan) can count themselves as the high-flyers in the Middle East along with Abu Dhabi’s newly renamed Zayed International Airport (Abu Dhabi), which was named Best Airports at Arrivals in the Arrivals Survey.

Among the 11 Indonesian airports recognised, Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and Yogyakarta International Airport both won five out of six award categories they entered. Oman’s Salalah Airport stood out in the Middle East, winning five awards. Chinese and Indian airports each won six airports.

ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East’s director general, Stefano Baronci, enthused: “From the East to the West, airports in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, China, India, Oman, UAE and Jordan have excelled to provide a best-in-class service to their customers.

“Although the Asia-Pacific region has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, airports in the region have invested significantly in technology, human resources, and infrastructure to ensure that passengers continue to have a memorable and seamless experience.”

The award categories for the Departures Survey included ‘Best Airport by Size and Region’ as well as the newly introduced categories of ‘Airport with the Most Dedicated Staff’, ‘Easiest Airport Journey’, ‘Most Enjoyable Airport’ and ‘Cleanest Airport’.

While the Arrivals Survey had just one category, The Best Airport at Arrivals Globally, and was awarded to the three airports with the top 20% overall satisfaction scores at arrival – Bengaluru-Kempegowda (BLR) and Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) in India and Zayed International Airport (AUH) in the UAE.

Talking about BLR’s success in the Arrivals Survey, an honour it has won evey year since it was introduced, Hari Marar, the managing director and CEO of Kempegowda operator, Bangalore International Airport Ltd, noted: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the government authorities – Immigration, Customs, CISF and the Airport Authority of India – for their unwavering support in ensuring a seamless arrival process.

“We also thank our passengers for their continued trust and confidence in us. Recognition such as this serve as a driving force, motivating us to continually pursue excellence and solidify our position as the gateway to South and Central India.”

Also, eight airports have been inducted into the ACI World Director General’s Roll of Excellence  – a recognition given to airports that have won multiple ASQ awards over a five-year period in the last 10 years.

The new inductees include five from ACI’s Asia-Pacific & Middle East region – Shenzen Bao’an International Airport (China), Chandigarh Airport (India), Muscat International Airport (Oman) and Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport and Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport (Indonesia).

Best by Size and Region

The winners were most straightforward in the Middle East, where once again Salalah (SLL) in Oman, Queen Alia (AMM) in Amman, Jordan, and Oman’s Muscat International Airport (MCT) won the Under 2mppa, 5-15mppa and 15-25mppa categories respectively.

Reflecting on Queen Alia International Airport being named ‘Best Airport by Size and Region: Middle East’ for the second successive and eighth time in its history, Nicolas Deviller, CEO of operator, Airport International Group (AIG), believed the award served as a testament to the airport’s “steadfast commitment to delivering a seamless and memorable customer experience in line with our strategic goals for 2023-2025”.

He added: “This recognition would not have been possible without the dedication of Airport International Group teams, partners and stakeholders to excellence, alongside our close partnership with the Government of Jordan, represented by the Ministry of Transport. Together, we shall continue to innovate and push the envelope, exceeding the expectations of those at the heart of everything we do; our passengers.”

Finding outright winners proved much more difficult in the Asia-Pacific region, where the six Best by Size Awards were shared by a total of 25 airports. Five and six airports respectively won awards in both the 5-15 million and Over 40mppa categories in Asia-Pacific, for example.

Changchun Longjia (CGQ) and Shijiazhuang Zhengding (SJW) in China and the Indonesian airports of Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan (BPN), Sultan Hasanuddin (UPG) and Yogyakarta (YIA) shared the honours in the 5-15mppa category.

While the triumphant airports in the Over 40mppa category are Mumbai Chhtrapati Shivaji (BOM), Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN), Incheon (ICN), Delhi-Indira Gandhi (DEL), Shenzhen Bao’an (SZX) and Singapore Changi (SIN).

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of DEL operator DIAL, said: “This honour strengthens our vision to create a truly global experience for travellers at Delhi Airport. We thank all our stakeholders who have collectively helped us attain this feat and promise to deliver our best consistently.”

The winners proved equally hard to separate in the 2-5mppa category where six airports won awards – Langkawi (LGK) in Malaysia, Chandigarh (IXC) in India and Indonesia’s Adi Soemarmo (SOC), Jenderal Ahmad Yani (SRG), Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II (PLM) and Supadio (PNK).

Commenting on his airport’s success in the 2-5mppa category for the third consecutive year, Malaysia Airports’ acting group CEO, Mohamed Rastam Shahrom, said: “In earning this prestigious recognition, the LGK airport community has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to consistently delivering exceptional service standards.

“As Langkawi Island continues to attract global tourists, we are witnessing a resurgence in travel, highlighted by the recent introduction of new airline routes such as flydubai’s Dubai (DBX)-LGK route. It is imperative that we uphold a top-notch passenger experience, not only to leave a positive impression of Malaysia but also to contribute to the vision of making Langkawi an unparalleled destination.”

Things were simpler in the Under 2mppa and 15-25mppa Best by Size categories for Asia-Pacific with three airports sharing top spot in each – China’s Zhangjiakou Ningyuan (ZQZ) and Indonesia’s Depati Amir Airport (PGK) and Pattimura (AMQ) airports in the former and India’s Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi (HYD) and the Indonesian gateways of Juanda (SUB) and I Gusti Ngurah Rai (DPS) in the latter.

New Awards categories

Oman’s Salalah Airport retained its title in the new ‘Airport with the Most Dedicated Staff’ category for the Middle East; while the equivalent award for Asia-Pacific was shared by Singapore Changi and five Indonesian airports – Adi Soemarmo (SOC), Sultan Hasanuddin (UPG), Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan (BPN), Supadio (PNK) and Yogyakarta (YIA).

It was amost an identical story for the ‘Easiest Airport Journey’ category, with Salalah again winning in the Middle East and the only change for Asia-Pacific in terms of the Indonesian airport winners being the inclusion of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport (PLM) at the expense of SOC.

All-conquering Salalah Airport also scooped the award for ‘Most Enjoyable Airport’ in Middle East, while South Korea’s Incheon International Airport shared the coveted award for Asia-Pacific with Indonesia’s multiple award winners SOC, BPN, UPG, PLM and YIA.

Commenting on the incredible success of Salalah and Muscat airports in the 2023 ASQ Awards, Saud bin Nasir Al Hubaishi, acting chief of operations at Oman Airports, enthused: “On behalf of Oman Airports’ executive management, I would like to extend a sincere thanks to our valued passengers for their continued interest in providing their feedback on the services our airports provide, which inspires us to continuously develop and enhance our airports’ infrastructure and services.

“I would also like to thank Oman Airports’ strategic partners, and all the various entities working at Muscat International Airport, Salalah Airport, and the rest of our airports – for their constant cooperation in showcasing Oman Airports in the very best light.”

Al Hubaishi added that the awards were a reflection of Oman Airports’ commitment to enhancing the travel experience in Oman, which is guided by the company’s key strategic principle of ‘Customer Satisfaction is a Primary Goal.’

He noted: “Since transferring the operations at Muscat International Airport to the new passenger terminal in 2018, Oman Airports and its dedicated workforce have worked to invest in this remarkable edifice to make it one of the most important airports in its category regionally and internationally. And today – praise be to Allah – Muscat International Airport is present in the list of top airports in the Middle East.

“At Salalah Airport, since the transfer of its operations in 2015, we have had much success in emulating the best services and comfortable travel experiences provided by Muscat International Airport to passengers; as well as the ease and harmony with which it conducts its operations.

“This excellence in airport operations is achieved by providing all what the passenger needs on their travel day. It is also the result of the speed of our check-in procedures – which is a key to guarantee passenger satisfaction.”

Indonesia’s domination in the Asia-Pacific awards was slightly less apparent in the ‘Cleanest Airport’ category, where China’s Beijing Daxing (PKX), Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN), Shijiazhuang Zhengding (SJW) airports and Singapore Changi (SIN) triumphed alongside SOC, UPG, PNK, YIA and Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS) and Pangkal Pinang’s Depati Amir Airport (PGK).

ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: “We are delighted that in 2023 the ASQ programme surpassed 400 participating airports in a historical record – reflecting our members’ commitment to placing the passenger first. Likewise, we thank the guests that dedicated their precious time by providing feedback in close to 600,000 surveys.

“The global growth of the programme underscores the trust placed in its scientific and live approach, making ASQ the go-to standard for airport customer experience assessment in the aviation industry.”

Worth noting is that in 2023 over half of the world’s travellers passed through an ASQ airport, underscoring the programme’s credibility and influence in shaping the standards for exceptional airport services.

View full list of winning airports here

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