Incheon triumph at Airport Service Quality Awards; personal accolade for Colm McLoughlin – 13/03/07

Incheon triumph: Incheon International Airport Corporation Chairman Mr Jae-Hee Lee picks up the Airport of the Year Award
A delighted Colm McLoughlin with The Moodie Report Publisher Martin Moodie after his richly deserved recognition

UAE. Incheon International Airport in South Korea once again gained top honours in the 2006 Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality Awards (ASQ) held last night in Dubai. The prestigious consumer-judged awards were announced during the first ACI Airport Business & Trinity Forum.

The ASQ awards recognise customer service efforts made by airports taking part in the ACI programme and are based on responses to a survey of passengers conducted throughout the year.

Incheon International Airport was named “˜Best Airport Worldwide’, with Hong Kong International and Kuala Lumpur International coming in second and third respectively – the second year in a row that all top three are from Asia-Pacific. On a regional basis, Zurich came top in Europe, Dallas Fort Worth in the Americas, Abu Dhabi in Africa-Middle East and Incheon in Asia Pacific.

In presenting the awards ACI Director General, Robert J Aaronson said that airports around the world have made customer service a major focus: “Those airports that participate in the Airport Service Quality programme have made a special commitment to customer service improvement by measuring how passengers respond to services on offer and benchmarking their services against other airports around the world.

“The awards presented tonight recognise the airports that have received the passenger’s vote of confidence. The responses suggest that what drives customer satisfaction appears to be a good knowledge of passenger requirements. There is no single magic bullet, it is a question of understanding passenger preferences at each airport.”

The surveys found that frequent flyers look for swift and hassle-free airport experiences with minimum of contact with staff. Conversely, leisure or infrequent flyers place considerable emphasis on friendly and courteous staff. Leading factors with regard to customer satisfaction are the ambience of the airport and the cleanliness of the terminal, followed by feeling safe and having comfortable waiting areas.

ACI Director of Security, Craig Bradbrook commented: “The Airport Service Quality programme works alongside a number of other projects that ACI and our airports are involved in – often with other industry partners – to improve the entire experience that passengers have at airports. Technology can provide for speedy and efficient journeys, with the advent of self service kiosks, internet check-in and biometric border processing for example. However, the personal service that airport staff provide is also incredibly important.”

This year, a new award was presented – for the airports that have cultivated a strong customer service culture among all staff on the airport, including airline, border agency, retail and security employees. The “˜Airport People’ awards went to Abu Dhabi in the Middle East-Africa, Brussels in Europe, Incheon in Asia-Pacific and Halifax in the Americas.

The Director General’s Special Recognition Award went to Dubai Airport for showing leadership, innovation and commitment to quality in airport service delivery over the past decade.

A highlight of the evening was The Moodie Report’s first-ever award for Outstanding Career Contribution to Airport Commercial Business – made to Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin. “He’s more than just a commercial success story – he’s displayed vision, statesmanship and, long before it became fashionable, corporate responsibility, down the years,” said The Moodie Report Publisher Martin Moodie.

A full report on the ASQ Awards and the ACI Airport Business & Trinity Forum will follow once the event concludes.

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