ROLL OF HONOUR
The introduction of new categories and the results in others being too tight to call means that a record-breaking 62 airports won awards in ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction survey for 2015, with Asia-Pacific airports once again dominating the global sections.
Indeed, the region’s airports won all of the global by size categories, including the coveted award for the world’s best gateway handling over 40 million passengers, which this year was shared by Incheon and Singapore Changi.
The duo finished ahead of an all Chinese cast on the runner’s up rostrum in the Over 40mppa category, with Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong tied in second place and Guangzhou Baiyun finishing third.
A new name on the winner’s podium this year is Jaipur International Airport in India, which won both the global Best Airport by new Size and Best Airport by Size and Region (Asia-Pacific) awards in the 2-5mppa category.
Fellow Indian gateway, Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, finished second to Jaipur in the global 2-5 million passengers per annum section.
Asia-Pacific airports completed clean sweeps in the final three global by size groups with Mumbai–Chhatrapati Shivaji and Delhi–Indira Gandhi sharing top spot for airports handling 25-40mppa; Sanya Phoenix winning the 5-15mppa category and Seoul–Gimpo retaining its title of best airport on the planet welcoming 15-25mppa.
Chhatrapati Shivaji operator, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), is quick to point out that it is the fifth consecutive year that it has ranked among the top five airports in the global 25-40mppa category.
“We started off with a vision to be among the best airports in the world, and the award is validation of the fact that our efforts towards establishing world-leading service quality are headed in the right direction,” enthuses MIAL managing director, Sanjay Reddy.
“We have continuously upgraded our services to delight guests and offer best-in-class comfort and convenience. Terminal 2 has been both the proving ground and the pedestal of success for our initiatives to serve our passengers with unwavering focus on excellence, efficiency, safety, sustainability and environmental care.”
Seoul–Gimpo narrowly beat off the challenge of China’s Wuhan Tianhe International Airport and Denpasar–Ngurah Rai Internatonal Airport in Bali, Indonesia, to win the 15-25mppa category for the fifth successive year.
While Asia-Pacific gateways Tianjin Binhai (China) and Hyderabad¬–Rajiv Gandhi (India) finished second and third place respectively behind Sanya Phoenix in the 5-15mppa section and Taoyuan (Taiwan) and Shanghai–Hongqiao (China) were runner’s up to joint winners Mumbai and Delhi in the 25-40mppa category.
Seokki Kim, president and CEO of Korean Airport Corporation (KAC), believes Seoul-Gimpo’s continued success demonstrates just how good its customer service levels are as he admits that the gateway is currently utilising “outdated facilities”.
He says: “Gimpo’s achievement of ranking the first in the world in airport services for the fifth consecutive time, despite its outdated facilities, is the result of combined efforts of all airport employees who share the mutual goal of providing the best airport services and strive to achieve it.
“We will do our best to continue to innovate and make improvements to remain a customer-friendly and business-oriented airport.”
In addition to its success in the global Over 40mppa category, customer service king, Incheon International Airport, retained its Best in Asia-Pacific title for the eleventh-year running, although once again it had to share the honour with Singapore Changi as the two super hubs couldn’t be separated on the score cards.
Chung Il-young, the newly appointed president and CEO of Incheon International Airport Corporation, says: “We continuously strive to do better and honour our status as one of the world’s best airports.
“We will successfully complete the construction of our second passenger terminal in 2017 and this will greatly help us in our goal to provide the best quality of service to customers. In addition we continue to make improvements to our existing facilities and operational systems.”
Changi Airport Group’s senior vice president for corporate and marketing communications, Ivan Tan, says: “At Changi Airport, we believe in delivering a passenger experience that is personalised, stress-free and positively surprising. We call this the Changi Experience and we can only deliver it with the strong and steadfast commitment of our frontline personnel including our dedicated and hardworking Changi Experience Agents (CEAs).
“The CEAs are our roving service ambassadors who comb our terminals armed with tablets. Rather than have our passengers walk to information counters, our on-the-go CEAs spot passengers in need and provide assistance such as giving flight details and directions.
“All the information they need is in their tablet. Together, our CEAs can speak close to 20 languages to cater to our international audience”.
An incredible four airports (Beijing Capital, Mumbai–Chhatrapati Shivaji, Delhi-Indira Gandhi and Sayna Phoenix) tied for second place in the most competitive category in the ASQ survey and another four (Guangzhou Baiyan, Taiwan Taoyuan, Tianjin Binhai and Shanghai–Pudong) for third spot.
In the Middle East, which in the ASQ awards has historically been ranked as a separate region despite forming part of ACI Asia-Pacific, the honours were shared around with Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport once again being voted Best Airport in the Middle East and Dammam–King Fahd in Saudi Arabia winning the prize for the Most Improved Airport.
Kjeld Binger, CEO of Queen Alia International Airport, certainly couldn’t hide his delight at retaining the Middle East crown as it meant that the Amman gateway had held off the challenge of major airline super hubs Abu Dhabi (Etihad), Doha (Qatar) and Dubai (Emirates) for at least another year.
“The fact that we have been recognised once again by our passengers through such a prestigious global organisation is further testament to our consistent track record of achievements and of our dedicated efforts toward sustaining our standing
as one of the top 20 airports, which serves five to 15 million passengers,” enthuses Binger.
“Looking back at how far we have come since the new terminal was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah II in 2013, it is clear that our competitive advantage lies in our conveniently smaller size, which makes for shorter transit processes and walking distances, not to mention Jordan’s stability and strategic proximity to Europe and Africa, making QAIA an ideal gateway for business and leisure passengers.”
For the record, Abu Dhabi and Doha’s Hamad International Airport finished joint second and Dammam–King Fahd International Airport, Dubai International and Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion International Airport equal third in the Middle East section.
Finally, in the new Best Airport by Size and Region section for Asia-Pacific, in addition to Jaipur triumphing in the 2-5mppa category, the winners were Sanya Phoenix (5-15mppa); Seoul-Gimpo (5-15mppa); Delhi–Indira Gandhi (25-40mppa); and Seoul–Incheon (Over 40mppa).
The award for Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport means that India’s capital city gateway scooped two first places in the 2015 ASQ survey and was ranked joint-second best gateway in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
It claims that the performance helps set it apart from other Indian airports and provides further evidence of the transformation that has taken place in Delhi since the GMR led consortium took over the running of the gateway in 2006 and set about improving its lowly ASQ ranking of 101st in the world.
The opening of the its new state-of-the-art Terminal 3 in 2010 certainly helped as operator, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), proved good on its pledge to enhance service standards across the airport.
DIAL CEO, I Prabhakara Rao, says: “Staying motivated in business and working together as a team is really less about what you hear and think, and more about what you do and achieve.
“The airport’s partners and employees have relentlessly delivered a distinct and enjoyable experience to our passengers enabling us to achieve three coveted ASQ awards
“These achievements reiterate our commitment towards fulfilling our Honourable Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ mission and also act as a constant catalyst to create a new paradigm of passenger experience.”
Rao notes that the awards are the result of the efforts of a number of airport stakeholders ranging from all airport staff – including those working for the government and security agencies, airlines and retail/F&B operators – to DIAL’s shareholders.
He adds: “In the fast-changing landscape of worldwide aviation, ACI’s ASQ benchmarking programme is the key to understanding how to enhance passenger satisfaction and improve business performance.”
ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, heaped praised on all the winners, noting that an increased concentration on “ensuring a stellar passenger experience” appears to be part of a larger trend.
She comments: “Airports have evolved into complex, customer-focused businesses in their own right that in many cases are in competition with each other for passenger traffic.
“From duty free and restaurants to ambience, cleanliness, courtesy of staff, amenities, efficiency and more, air travellers are expecting big things from the airports through which they travel.
“More than anything, ASQ is a way for participants to measure the extent to which they deliver on these expectations.”
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