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World in motion


Continuing to prioritise customer service and listening to the needs of passengers is more important than ever in these uncertain times, writes corporate affairs manager, Bojana Jeremic.

With many borders still closed and travel restrictions in place, the recovery process and kick-starting travel is taking longer than we had anticipated.

It is clear that people want to travel again, but there is also concern about how they can navigate travel safely, and which restrictions they will be subjected when they fly.

According to the ASQ Global Traveller Survey, when asked at the end of 2020, 48% of travellers considered themselves likely to travel “within the next three months”.

Despite this eagerness to travel, however, around 80% of those taking part in the survey said that having to quarantine would discourage them from going forward with their travel plans.

Even before the pandemic, parts of the passenger journey had the potential to cause some stress or anxiety, even for the most experienced of travellers.

Airports take pride in the way they have prioritised making the customer experience, stress-free, smoothing the experience so that passengers have an enjoyable journey from kerb to gate.

As the pandemic unfolded, airports capitalised on this approach in introducing hygiene and health-related measures to ensure that passengers feel comfortable and confident to fly.

As we pivot from managing the current crisis to preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities, it is clear that recovery will be boosted if passengers continue to have confidence in the health and safety of air transport.

Shifting passengers needs

The pandemic has impacted virtually all aspects of our lives – it has changed the way we work, study, shop, communicate, and inarguably it will bring about permanent changes to the way we travel.

Passenger behaviours and expectations will evolve, and the provision of airport customer experience will need to follow suit to accommodate new needs.

While it is difficult to predict exactly what the new trends will look like, in times of crisis, humans want to know that they matter. And, for airports, this means listening, understanding and adapting to shifting passenger behaviours, values and needs.

These changes will also bring about the need for higher degrees of personalisation, predictability and authenticity.

Successful organisations are already tapping into these shifts in behaviour to improve consumer relevancy and differentiate themselves from the competition. Rather than make assumptions about people’s needs, the most successful ones are those that seek a better understanding of the people rewriting the new rules: the consumer.

This information is crucial, especially once airports enter the period of full-speed recovery, and will be an important tool to help them regain the trust of passengers.

Understanding travellers needs will give airports an opportunity to tailor their services and take a human-at-the centre approach to rebuild passenger confidence and encourage them to travel again.

Listening to the Voice of the Customer

Airports around the world continue to go above and beyond to provide an airport experience that is safe, hygienic and responsive to the changing needs and expectations of passengers.

To celebrate their achievements, ACI has launched the Voice of the Customer recognition for airports that continue to prioritise their customers and remained committed to ensuring that their voice was heard during the pandemic.

This initiative highlights those who have made significant efforts in gathering passenger feedback through the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme to help them better understand their customers and better position themselves to build back safer and more satisfying experiences for travellers.

The Airport Service Quality programme is the world’s leading airport customer experience measurement and benchmarking programme. The ASQ Departures programme measures passengers’ satisfaction across 34 key performance indicators. More than half of the world’s travellers pass through an ASQ airport.

Congratulations to all 140 airports that have been recognised and we applaud you and your team for your untiring dedication and fortitude during this difficult time.

The silver lining

One thing that has not changed during the crisis is people’s passion for adventure and appetite for international travel.

The new normal for travel will bring many changes, which in turn will require flexibility and adaptability from our industry. Now is the opportunity for airports to listen to their passengers to better understand their needs in order to redesign the end-to-end passenger journey and better prepare for the future.

ACI World welcomes industry climate change action

ACI World has welcomed the new Airport Carbon Accreditation Interim Report 2019-2020, which reveals the latest results of and developments in the global carbon standard for airports.

The report reveals robust participation growth across all regions, illustrating the extent of airport industry’s readiness to decarbonise even in the toughest of conditions.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, 34 airports have become accredited for the first time and another 31 have progressed to a higher level of the programme. This trend is set to continue in 2021, driven by the enduring leadership of airports in CO2 management and reduction.

As the financial situation of airports across the world deteriorates rapidly, however, the necessary investments to cut carbon are weighed against survival. This will be a factor of concern for further decarbonisation in the sector and should be considered as one of the grounds for urgent government aid.

“Even as the impacts and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated passenger traffic and revenue at airports across the world, it is very heartening to see airports continue their commitment to decarbonisation,” said ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

“The industry is further demonstrating that efforts to address the climate emergency cannot wait for the pandemic to end, and I commend the 334 airports actively addressing their carbon emissions in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.”

The Report explores one of last year’s main developments, aligning airport climate action with the ambition of the Paris Agreement. The introduction of two new accreditation levels – Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition – has been documented through in-depth testimonies from the three trailblazing airports which have already achieved these levels: Dallas/Fort Worth International, Indira Gandhi International and Christchurch International.

The programme’s expanded framework providing airports with the tools and knowledge to pursue carbon reductions in line with the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement, following the pathways laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been applauded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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