Type to search




In the spotlight: Customer service

Airport report: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta

Special report: ASQ winners

Plus: Chinese airport development & security

Charm offensive

Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the importance of going the extra mile for good customer service. 

By the time you read this the UK will have a new government as the nation went to the polls on May 7 to decide who will be in power for the next five years.

Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you to death with any party political broadcast; I only mention it because I have been intrigued and somewhat amused by the ‘charm offensive’ of politicians and the big political parties in the build up to the big event.

True, this pre-election phenomenon is nothing new as we are all familiar with the pictures in our history books that show politicians across the world kissing babies, patting dogs or helping grannies across the road during election campaigns. However, probably like many of you out there I cannot help feeling a little angry about why they don’t show us this kind of ‘love and attention’ all the time.

Why, for example, do we have to wait four years for a live leaders’ debate on TV about hugely important topics that will potentially shape the future of our countries for a generation, or for the local politician to knock on our door, introduce themselves and ask how we are feeling about things?

It is, of course, all a bit of a sideshow and unbelievably something politicians seem to be able to get away with for now. Just imagine if airports took this same kind of complacent attitude towards passengers and customer service.

Thankfully, they don’t, and we have seen the results over the last decade as customer satisfaction levels have soared to new heights as an ever-increasing number of airports have gone that extra mile to become more passenger-friendly and service-focused.

This evolution has taken many forms, of course, ranging from new and innovative airport design, IT enhancements and unique or X-factor facilities such as ice rinks, cinemas, museums and art galleries to sense-of-place retail/F&B outlets and a simple smile.

You can read about some of the latest innovations in this ‘customer service’ themed issue of Airport World, which also includes the 2014 ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction survey results and news, views and comment from some of this year’s winners. My congratulations go to all of them.

Elsewhere in this issue we interview Miguel Southwell, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest passenger gateway, and have a special report on Chinese airport development.

We report on the highlights of February’s Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition in London, hear from ACI World’s director general, Angela Gittens, and discover more about Birmingham International Airport’s energy-saving initiatives.

Baggage handling and security also come under the microscope in this action-packed edition.

It might not be politically correct to say it, but I hope you find this issue a jolly good read!


Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the importance of going the extra mile for good customer service. 


Money matters
Lively debate and a record 300 delegates from 56 countries helped make the seventh Airport Economics & Finance Conference & Exhibition one to remember, writes Joe Bates.

ACI news
ACI’s preliminary traffic figures for 2014 confirm that Dubai (DXB) is now the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic ahead of London-Heathrow, writes Patrick Lucas.

View from the top
Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World, discusses the role that customer service excellence plays in ensuring the economic viability of airports.

The job creation business
Aviation general manager, Miguel Southwell, tells Joe Bates about the economic importance of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and how its success is vital to the entire region.


Winners all
Airport World reviews the highlights of ACI’s 2014 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards and talks to some of the award-winning gateways.

Putting people first
Airport International Group CEO, Kjeld Binger, talks to Joe Bates about the customer service philosophy of Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport.


Tales of the unexpected
New initiatives, services and innovative design continue to raise the bar on customer service levels at airports worldwide, writes Joe Bates.

On the menu
Airport World highlights the latest retail/F&B-focused customer service initiatives introduced by Gebr Heinemann and Stansted and Helsinki airports.


Planning ahead
Skanska USA’s MacAdam Glinn reflects on how the quest for greater efficiency, flexibility and a better customer experience is driving renovation projects at US airports.

Watching brief
Airport World reports on the trial, development and installation of a handful of new security technologies.

China in their hands
With major new airports being built in Beijing, Qingdao and elsewhere and dozens of existing gateways adding new state-of-the-art facilities, these are exciting times for China, writes Joe Bates.

On the case
New installations, contract wins, reports and the launch of a hybrid luggage drop system have ensured a busy few months for airport baggage handlers and technology suppliers.

Going green
Sharing accountability for energy savings has led to Birmingham Airport saving over €450,000 on energy bills in the past two years, writes Matt Whitehead.

ACI’s World Business Partners

People matters
Dr Richard Plenty and Terri Morrisey provide their thoughts on: The customer service role of frontline staff.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *