Top honours for two SA airports

25th March 2011

The Airports Council International (ACI) has named George Airport, in the Western Cape, the best regional airport in Africa handling fewer than two- million passengers a year. This was announced at the results of the international association’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards for 2010, in February.

Other best regional airports include Humberside, in the UK, Bridgetown, in Barbados, and Quebec City, in Canada.

The ACI also bestowed top honours on Cape Town International Airport for being the most-improved airport in Africa. The airport shares top honours with its regional counterparts of Shanghai Hongqiao, in Asia-Pacific, Bournemouth Airport, in the UK, Dubai International Airport, in the Middle East, Vancouver International Airport in North America, and San José International Airport, in the Latin America-Caribbean region.

However, ACI director-general Angela Gittens says that Incheon International Airport, in Seoul, South Korea, has for the sixth consecutive year taken the top customer service award for being the best airport worldwide.

“Asia-Pacific airports made a clean sweep of this worldwide category, as they did last year, with Singapore Changi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport taking the second, third, fourth and fifth places respectively for 2010. We applaud the consistent success story of the Asia-Pacific airports, which have set the bar in service excellence,” she says.

The ACI reports that, during 2010, over 300 000 passenger surveys were completed at participating ASQ airports and served as the basis for determining the top five performers in the categories of worldwide, size (for example, the number of passengers handled, in six category sizes), region (six regions) and best improvement (also by region).

“Airports compete for passenger loyalty as they seek to attract new routes and air service. For these airports, ASQ is not only a popularity contest, but also a tool to help improve performance in a measurable way. It assists airports in understanding the factors that contribute to success, and in identifying problem areas that they can then address. Worldwide competition has heightened the importance of service quality at airports,” Gittens says.

The ASQ passenger survey measures customer feedback on a range of service delivery measures, which allow the tracking of the customer’s experience at an airport, from the moment of arrival to the departure. Analysis of this ‘real-time’ data, recorded on the day of travel, serves as a guide for aligning service provision with customer expectations.

ASQ programme director Craig Bradbrook adds that, interestingly, three of the six most-improved award winners were airports located in cities or countries that hosted major events during the year. “Vancouver, in Canada, hosted the Winter Olympic Games, Cape Town, in South Africa, hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Shanghai hosted the World Expo 2010,” he says.