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Airport World pays tribute to the 2018 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer experience award winners and talks to some of the CEOs of the successful gateways.

It’s official, Delhi-Indira Gandhi, Indianapolis, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Mumbai-Chhatrapati Shivaji, Singapore Changi and Seoul–Gimpo are some of the best airports in the world for the delivery of customer service.

All triumphed in ACI’s annual newly-improved and rebranded ‘customer experience’ Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards, as did perennial winners Beijing Capital, Toronto Pearson, Roma-Fiumicino and Shanghai Pudong.

While Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport won the first ever ASQ Arrivals Award, based on the new Arrivals Survey, becoming the first airport in the world to win both a Departures and an Arrivals award.The new format of the awards, which recognise the airports around the world that deliver the best customer experience in the opinion 

of their own passengers, means that more gateways than ever before are lauded for their customer service focused efforts, facilities and services.

Indeed, a host of airports have won their first ASQ award, including Biju Patnaik in India; Ramón Villeda Morales in Honduras; Muscat in Oman; Fort McMurray in Canada; Yichang Sanxia in China; Portland International Jetport in the US; and Dublin, Oslo, Helsinki, Southampton, Bristol, London City and Zaragoza in Europe.

China’s airports won a total of 10 awards in 2018 – Changchun Longjia, Hohhot Baita, Nanchang Changbei, Haikou Meilan, Sanya Fenghua, Tianjin Binhai and Chongqing Jiangbei joining Beijing Capital, Shanghai Pudong and Yichang Sanxia on the winner’s podium.

Indonesia was another nation with multiple award winners with a total of seven airports (Depati Amir, Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, Raja Haji Fisabilillah, Sultan Syarif Kasim II, Sepinggan, Silangit and Sultan Thaha) either winning again or tasting success for the first time.

In fact, in the new ‘Best Infrastructure and Facilitation’ section, no fewer than seven Indonesian and eight Chinese airports are recognised in their size category.Other nations with multiple winners include India – which in addition to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru-Kempegowda, Delhi-Indira Gandhi, Mumbai-Chhatrapti Shivaji and Biju Patnaik, counts Chandigarh, Cochin, Indore–Devi Ahilyabi Holkar as winners – and Spain, where Almería, Girona, Melilla, Zaragoza, and Alicante-Elche airports are all first-time winners.


North America

In the traditional Best by Size and Region categories in the ASQ Departures Awards, Toronto Pearson is joint No.1 with Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) for handling Over 40mppa and Minneapolis/St Paul and Detroit Metropolitan share the honours in the 15-25mppa.

Howard Eng, CEO of Greater Toronto Airports Authority who also saw his airport win the Most Improved award for North America, says: “These achievements are possible thanks to the collaboration and innovation of the 50,000 airport colleagues and partners who made a commitment to creating a better airport experience for our passengers and who continue to work every day to bring that vision to life.”

DFW’s executive vice president for customer experience and revenue, Ken Buchanan, says: “Excellence in the customer experience has been a high priority goal for DFW for many years and will remain a priority moving forward.

“While we are thankful for this award, we also know we must continue to enhance DFW’s outstanding customer service in order to keep our customers happy and loyal. We thank our customers and ACI for this outstanding recognition.”

Wayne County Airport Authority’s CEO, Chad Newton, enthused: “Winning an Airports Council International award is one of the greatest accomplishments an airport can achieve.

“It is a true honour for Detroit Metropolitan Airport to be named one of the Best Airports in North America within its size category in the 2018 Airport Service Quality Survey. Our internal departments, along with our airline partners, tenants and federal partners continue to raise the bar regarding customer service.

“We’ve updated our retail and F&B offerings throughout the terminals, opened nine nursing rooms and continue to offer flights that have a wide appeal. We strive to make travelling a positive experience for our customers and are delighted our customers have noticed.”

Dallas Love Field is the outright winner in the 15-25mppa category while Indianapolis held onto its crown as the top airport in the 5-15mppa category for the fourth successive year, although this time it had to share the accolade with Jacksonville and San Antonio.

Talking about Indianapolis’ award, Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, enthuses: “This award is based on input directly from passengers that have actually flown out of and into the Indy airport, and who have a first-hand experience with us.

“This in-depth feedback not only has earned us the title over eight years [Best Airport in North America], it is crucial to how we continue to invest in the airport and enhance its value to the community in the decades to come.”

San Antonio International Airport’s aviation director, Russ Handy, notes: “It is always our goal to put passengers first and it’s an honour to be recognised as one of the world’s best airports for the quality of our customer service.

“This is truly a significant achievement for the amazing team I have the privilege of serving with, and something that all stakeholders of SAT and our surrounding community should be very proud of. The airport has a worldwide reputation for our excellence in customer service.”

San Antonio scored high in overall satisfaction, ground transportation, check-in waiting time, efficiency of staff, courtesy at check-in, terminal cleanliness, ease of wayfinding, Internet/Wi-Fi, safety and security.

El Paso and Ottawa are joint top in the 2-5mppa section and Fort McMurray and Portland International Jetport equal first-time winners of the Under 2mppa.



In arguably the most fiercely competitive region of them all, passengers were unable to separate Singapore Changi, Shanghai Pudong, Delhi-Indira Gandhi and Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji airports for top place in the Over 40mppa category in the By Size and Region Awards.

Chongqing Jiangbei and Bengaluru-Kempegowda are the best airports handling 25-40mppa; Haikou-Meilan, Sanya Fenghua and Tianjin top for 15-25mppa; Changchun Longjia, Cochin, Hohhot Baita, Nanchang Changbei and Sepinggan best for 5-15mppa; Biju Patnaik, Chandigarh, Indore–Devi Ahilyabai, SM Badaruddin, SS Karim and Yichang Sanxia best for 2-5mppa; and Depati Amir and Sultan Thaha winners in Under 2mppa category.

And many of these airports triumphed again the new global categories for Best Environment and Ambience by Size; Best Customer Service by Size; and Best Infrastructure and Facilitation by Size.

They include Singapore Changi, which in addition to winning the Best by Size and Region Award for Over 40mppa in Asia-Pacific is also now officially the joint best airport in the world in the same size category for Best Environment and Ambience, Best Customer Service and Best Infrastructure and Facilitation.

As is Chongqing Jiangbei (25-40mppa); Tianjin Binhai (15-25mppa); Changchun Longjia, Hohhot Baita, Nanchang Changbei and Sepinggan (5-15mppa); Chandigarh, SM Badaruddin, SS Karim and Yichang Sanxia (2-5mppa); and Depati Amir and Sultan Thaha (Under 2mppa).

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi–Indira Gandhi operator, DIAL, says: “The award is testament to the continued improvements in passenger-service that Delhi Airport has witnessed since DIAL took over its operations in 2006. Despite robust traffic growth, and ongoing expansion works, we have maintained our high Airport Service Quality ranking. This demonstrates the dedication, hard work and collaboration with our stakeholders.”



Rome-Fiumicino and Moscow Sheremetyevo share top spot in the Over 40mppa category in the By Size and Region awards for the region while Dublin, Oslo Gardermoen and Zurich are joint winners in 25-40mppa section.

Athens confirmed that the good times have returned by scooping the 15-25mppa award alongside Helsinki and Prague while the 5-15mppa was shared by eight airports (Alicante, Bergen, Bristol, Malta, Newcastle, Porto, Reykjavik and Sochi); the 2-5mppa by four airports (London City, Southampton, Tallinn and Zagreb); and the Under 2mppa by five gateways (Almería, Gerona, Melilla, Skopje and Zaragoza).

Aeroporti di Roma CEO, Ugo de Carolis, notes: “It is the second consecutive year that we’ve won this award [Over 40mppa], but we do not consider it a goal, we view it as an incentive to do more and better. Our strategy of investments in infrastructure and quality services will continue with great determination.”

Dublin Airport’s managing director, Vincent Harrison, enthuses: “This award is a huge endorsement for the entire team at Dublin Airport. We will continue to put the passenger at the heart of everything we do at Dublin Airport.”

London City Airport’s CEO, Robert Sinclair, notes: “London City Airport has gained a reputation over the years for offering a world class passenger experience, and this award from ACI World is confirmation of it.

“Our vision is to make air travel to and from the heart of London as quick and easy as possible, with a growing range of airlines and routes which make London City a perfect choice whether for business or leisure.”


Latin America-Caribbean

Belo Horizonte’s Tancredo Neves-Confins (Brazil) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) are the best airports in the 5-15mppa category in the Best by Size and Region Awards for the region.

Los Cabos (Mexico) and Guayaquil–Jose Joaquin Olmedo (Ecuador)were joint winners in the 2-5mppa category; while Liberia-Daniel Oduber Quirós (Costa Rica) and San Pedro Sula–Ramón Villeda Morales (Honduras) shared the honours in the Under 2mppa category. San Jose–Juan Santamaria (Costa Rica) is the region’s Most Improved airport.

Africa and the Middle East

South African airports once again dominated in the by Size and Region categories, Durban-King Shaka being named joint best for 5-15mppa with Casablanca in Morocco and Kimberley National, Port Elizabeth and Upington sharing the Under 2mppa award. Abidjan–Félix-Houphouët-Boigny (Ivory Coast) is Africa’s Most Improved airport.

Queen Alia in Amman, Jordan, is the best airport handling 5-15 million passengers in the Middle East and Muscat is the region’s Most Improved gateway.

“Winning this prestigious accolade is a true reflection of our commitment to continuously enhancing the quality of services extended at Queen Alia and providing our passengers with a positive travel experience, whether it be through improved facilities, expedited procedures or passenger offerings,” says Airport International Group CEO, Kjeld Binger.


All winners

“The Airport Service Quality Awards celebrate the achievements of airports in delivering the best customer experience and they represent the highest possible accolade for airport operators around the world,” comments ACI World director general, Angela Gittens.

“In both the traditional and new categories, these airports have responded to the evolving needs of passengers to deliver higher levels of service and an award-winning performance.

“Airports have recognised that delivering a better customer experience is an important business tool in an increasingly competitive industry. ACI’s ASQ is the only globally-established programme that provides objective measurement and benchmarking for airports to help drive their performance.”

Roll of honour

A full list of winners can be viewed on the ACI World website at https://aci.aero/customer-experience-asq/asq-awards/current-winner-2018/current-winner-2018/


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