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Theme: Europe’s regional airports
Airport reports: Hamad & Taoyuan
Interviewed: ACI Asia-Pacific’s Stefano Baronci
Plus: Airport design; WBP news & People matters

Little and large

Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the key role regional airports play for their local communites and regions.

By the time you read this, the 2021 winners of ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer experience awards will have been announced and, no doubt, once again the bulk of the attention of the world’s press will be on the biggest gateways on the planet and how they performed.

Has long-time customer service king Incheon International Airport regained its crown in the Over 40mppa category for the Asia-Pacific region? How did Amsterdam Schiphol fare in the same category for Europe where the top prize last year was shared between Moscow Sheremetyevo and Rome Fiumicino?

Did Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta and Toronto Pearson reign supreme again in North America for airports handling over 40mppa and did Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall and Detroit Metropolitan once again finish top in the 25-40mppa category?

Arguably, it is human nature that we often associate being the best with being the biggest or fastest, and in the case of some of the world’s most high profile airports such as Los Angeles (LAX), Dubai (DXB), Hamad (DOH) and Singapore Changi (SIN), there is also more than a hint of glamour and excitement about them, too, for visitors.

It is therefore often all too easy to overlook the world’s smaller gateways and the hugely important role they, and regional airports play in providing connectivity, employment and economic prosperity to the communities they serve.

Indeed, in remote communities across the globe stretching from the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada to tiny islands in the South Pacific, airports effectively provide a lifeline to the outside world that helps them to exist and, in many cases, flourish.

In our first issue of 2022 we have decided to take a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing Europe’s regional airports ahead of ACI EUROPE’s Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition (RACE) in Palermo, Sicily, on March 28-30.

Fittingly, ACI EUROPE’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, provides the introduction to the ‘Europe’s regional airports’ themed section of the issue, taking the opportunity to outline the significant economic and operational challenges facing the continent’s regional gateways both now and post COVID.

We also talk to the managing directors of Cluj, Cork and Palermo airports to discover how their respective airports are faring and recovering from COVID, and take a brief look at the challenges Europe’s smaller airports have when it comes to enhancing their retail and F&B offerings.

Elsewhere in the issue, we focus on new facilities in Santiago, New York, Memphis, Geneva and Atlanta and get a glimpse of what’s to come with JFK’s Terminal One; and ACI Asia-Pacific’s director general, Stefano Baronci, completes our series of articles about the impact of COVID on different parts of the world by updating us on where airports in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific are in the recovery process.

ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, starts 2022 on a positive note by  using his ‘View from top’ article to praise the customer service efforts of 2022’s ASQ Award winners and the 200 airports recognised in The Voice of the Customer initiative for continuing to prioritise listening and adapting to customers during the pandemic.

Our lead airport features are on Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) and Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) in Chinese Taipei.

We round out the edition with our usual People matters column and an extended World Business Partner (WBP) section, which features contributions from both ADB SAFEGATE and Veovo.

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