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Kirsten O’Neill, customer experience research manager at Dubai Airports, talks to ACI World’s Sevda Fevzi about the benefits of the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) benchmarking programme.

How and why did your airport join ASQ?

Nowadays, more often than not, what identifies an airport in the customer’s mind is the overall airport experience. Indeed, the experience can be as important as the infrastructure and often, the two go hand in hand. At Dubai Airports, our mission is to deliver a great customer experience by running a great business. 

Our ambition is to be the customer’s ‘airport of choice’ by effectively running the largest, most advanced, yet efficient, customer-centric airport in the world.

With well in excess of 80 million passengers forecast to travel through DXB this year, it is more important than ever for us to know our customers, their needs, challenges, behaviours, motivations, expectations and their perceptions of us.

It was in order to better understand our customers and the service levels we must deliver to delight them that Dubai Airports started using the ACI ASQ global benchmarking programme nearly a decade ago. It provides us with an extra tool to measure our passengers’ airport experience and corresponding customer satisfaction and allowed us to benchmark our performance against other aviation hubs.

How has your airport directly benefitted from ASQ?

For Dubai Airports to deliver a world-class customer experience at DXB, we know that our customers must be placed at the centre of our organisational decision-making processes. The ACI ASQ programme is one of a suite of research tools we use to help define our customers’ functional and emotional needs and their perceptions as they travel through our airport. The ASQ results provide a baseline measurement tool, which we use as part of our planning process for the setting of short, medium and long-term customer experience targets.

Has your airport implemented any changes and/or improvements because of ASQ?

Absolutely. For DXB to be the biggest and the best, Dubai Airports must be responsive to its customers at this scale. We are taking onboard what our customers have told us through both the ASQ programme and our ongoing internal research programme to enhance our service and the customer experience.

What is the best thing about being part of the ASQ airport network?

ASQ offers all members an opportunity to learn and continually improve to the benefit of our customers.

What are your wish list destinations for future ASQ Forums?

The growth of global aviation will continue to see the world seamlessly connect and, as a result, what we view today as remote regions will soon be humming with increased trade and tourism.

The growing regions and destinations within Africa, South America and Eastern Europe would make excellent hosts for future ASQ Forums as their fresh outlook, innovative insight and imminent progress would no doubt be something from which we can all
learn and grow.


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