Far from mere points of departure and arrival, airports are a relevant part of the flying experience and strive to woo travelers with an ever-growing array of services and amenities.
Service quality has been recognized and awarded since 2006 by Airport Council International (ACI), the association gathering almost 400 airports in 95 countries worldwide.
The council’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards differ from other accolades in being the result of thousands of surveys gathered by the association during the year. For example, in 2022, some 465,000 surveys were collected, each looking at 30 factors, including check-in, ease of navigation, toilet conditions, shopping, and dining offerings.
Every year, winners are grouped considering the volume of passengers they process and the region where they are—Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, and North America. In addition, this year, ACI introduced four new categories:
- The most enjoyable airport
- The Most dedicated staff
- The Easiest airport journey
- The Cleanest airport
In 2022, out of the 69 airports that received ASQ awards for overall quality, 24 are in Europe, 22 are in the Asia-Pacific region, 11 are in North America, five are in Latin America or the Caribbean, four are in Africa, and three are in the Middle East.
Rome-Fiumicino Takes #1
Winning confirmations came from Istanbul, Singapore Changi, San Francisco International, Zurich Kloten, and Rome Fiumicino. The latter has been the ACI Awards’ star performer, winning ‘Best airport’ with over 40 million passengers annually, ‘Most dedicated staff,’ ‘Most enjoyable airport,’ and ‘Cleanest airport.’
Rome’s main gateway has undergone significant renovations over the last decade. The airport recently inaugurated its new Concourse A departure gate area for Schengen flights, boasting new security processing lines, an all-new immigration facility, and a dramatically improved food and beverage offering. Moreover, the terminal’s interior design concept has been captured by international media, captivating domestic and international travelers.
Istanbul’s new international airport took second place in its range, whereas Athens and Palma de Mallorca won in the 25-40 million passenger section.
The absence from the list of previous award-winning airports, Frankfurt Main and Amsterdam Schipol, surprised many. Both airports were heavily affected during the summer by huge queues at security and immigration, flight delays, and cancellations due to staff shortages.
North America: Win For Dallas/Fort Worth
In the U.S., Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport took the win, followed by San Francisco. Detroit and Minneapolis led the charts in the 25 to 40 million passenger ranks.
Minneapolis has made it to the top for the past seven years. “For MSP to be recognized by our travelers as one of the best in the world year after year is a testament to our focus on providing exceptional airport experiences so Minnesota thrives,” said Brian Ryks, chief executive officer of the airport’s operator, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).
Other notable U.S. airports landing top awards were San Jose, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, and Fort McMurray.
Indy Airport praised the big win, noting it is “more than just a place where aircraft take off and land—it’s very much like a city within a city,” according to the Airport’s Executive Director, Mario Rodriguez. “It takes a breadth of dedicated employees from across a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds – even beyond that of aviation – to deliver a world-class customer experience.”
Asia: Beijing and Delhi Lead The Charts
In Asia, Beijing Daxing International airport won in four different categories. At the same time, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport was named one of the best and cleanest airports in the Asia Pacific region.
The airport’s management celebrated the award by noting, “the ASQ program is the world’s leading airport customer experience measurement and benchmarking program. This recognition is based on live research via surveys gathered at the airport — direct from the traveler—rating their satisfaction on the day of travel.”
The council’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, talked about this year’s results and highlighted that the results “not only measures and benchmarks, but also provide airports of all sizes with an opportunity for continual learning and improvement to reach new heights in customer experience excellence.”
“The new categories not only reflect the growth of the program but also the evolution of passenger needs. It is non-negotiable—airports must listen closely to the voice of customers so we can continue to serve people and communities in a sustainable and resilient way. This is the way forward,” said de Oliveira.