Airport awards 2020: the regional hubs topping customer satisfaction ranks

Ilaria Grasso Macola 24 August 2020 (Last Updated August 25th, 2020 09:38)

The recent Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020 crowned Singapore Changi, Tokyo Haneda and Doha Hamad as the year’s best airports, but many other regional hubs also gained recognition. Ilaria Grasso Macola looks at the airports that won accolades in their individual regions and the reasons behind their success.

Airport awards 2020: the regional hubs topping customer satisfaction ranks
The indoor waterfall at Singapore Changi Airport. Credit: Singapore Changi Airport.

Initially instituted by British management consultancy Skytrax in 1999, the World Airport Awards are one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the aviation industry.

The winners, which are chosen by an independent passenger survey taken over six months, are evaluated according to a set of criteria such as infrastructure connections, check-in processes and waiting times.

Here’s a look at ten of this year’s main winners and what sets them apart from their regional competitors.

Americas

Cincinnati

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) won the Best Regional Airport in North America for the seventh time. CVG was also recognised as the world’s second-best airport serving between five and ten million passengers and having North America’s fifth-best airport staff.

Overall, CVG was also appointed the sixth-best regional airport in the world.

“To earn this distinction for seven of the last nine years reflects the outstanding commitment of the best airport team and partners in this industry,” CVG CEO Candance McGraw said in a press release.

“As our community readies to start travelling again, they can be assured that an excellent airport experience, one that is safe and healthy will always be our top priority.”

Lima

Peru’s Jorge Chavez Airport won for the ninth time the Best Airport in South America award, outmatching Quito and Bogotá’s airports.

“In the middle of this pandemic, this prize propels us to rethink our next steps to create the best experience for our passengers with all the precaution measures,” commented Lima Airport Partners (LAP) corporate communications director Rocío Espinoza.

Asia-Pacific

Delhi

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has become the first Indian airport to be included in the world’s best 50 airports while also winning the Best International Airport in India and Central Asia prize.

Delhi International Airport CEO Videh Jaipuriar welcomed the award by saying: “In winning this top accolade, the real praise and success must go to all the airport staff across many agencies working at Delhi Airport, including stakeholders and partners who continuously work hard to look after and please our customers.”

Singapore

Having been crowned World’s Best Airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport can be considered as the real winner of this year’s World Airport Awards.

“For Singapore Changi Airport to be voted the World’s Best Airport title for eight consecutive years is a truly remarkable achievement and demonstrates a simply fantastic level of consistency,” commented Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted.

“This year also marks the first time that customers have been able to recognise Jewel Changi Airport, a multi-dimensional destination filled with inspiring attractions, unique retail and dining concepts.”

Changi Airport also grabbed other awards, including Best Airport Leisure Amenities and Best Airport in Asia, amongst others.

Tokyo

Closely following the number of Singapore’s awards, Tokyo’s Haneda was awarded the World’s Best Domestic Airport for the eighth consecutive year, while securing the World’s Cleanest Airport award for the fifth time.

Thanks to its initiatives designed to assist elderly passengers and those with disabilities, Tokyo Haneda was also given the World’s Best Partner Relationship Management (PRM)award.

Europe

Amsterdam

Not only was Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport nominated Western Europe’s best airport, but it also was voted as having the best website and digital service in Europe. This is not the first time Schiphol has won a Skytrax award: in 2014 it was voted Best Airport in Western Europe, while in 2012 it won the ‘Europe’s Best Airport’ award.

On a global level, Schiphol was the world’s ninth-best airport and third for website and digital service.

“Even during these challenging times for the aviation sector, we will continue to ensure that Schiphol continues to provide passengers with an experience and quality that meets their expectations,” said Schiphol COO Birgit Otto.

Budapest

Authorities at Ferenc Liszt International Airport believe that the reason behind their seven-year consecutive win as Eastern Europe’s best airport is its continuous investments.

The airport has invested more than HUF50bn ($162m) over the last couple of years in renovations. In 2019, projects focused on digital innovations and enhancing the travel experience for passengers. These included accelerating screening processes, allowing passengers to leave their electronic items in their hand baggage during screening, and cutting waiting times to under 15 minutes.

“The aim of our developments is to continuously improve passenger convenience and satisfaction. I am proud of my colleagues and team, with whom we will continue our work to provide the best services to passengers going forward,” commented Budapest Airport CEO Dr Rolf Schnitzler.

Hamburg

This is the fifth win for Hamburg’s international airport Flughafen Hamburg, which won Best Regional Airport in Europe in 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.

In the overall ranking of the World’s Top 100 Airports 2020, Hamburg ranked 24th – four positions higher compared to 2019.

“Being honoured with the Skytrax World Airport Award means a great deal to us because the recipient is chosen by the people that we have put at the heart of all we do: our passengers,” commented the airport’s CEO Michael Eggenschwiler.

“The strong commitment of our staff over the past year made this fantastic result possible. I am proud to have such a motivated workforce. Our task now is to continue to stand together, facing and overcoming the extensive impact of the coronavirus together.”

The Middle East and Africa

Doha

Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) celebrated its victory as Best Airport in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row along with other prizes, including ‘Best Airport: 30-40 million passengers’ and Best Airport Staff in the Middle East.

HIA COO Eng. Badr Mohammed Al Meer said: “Our award for Best Staff in the Middle East and Best Airport in the Middle East will reinforce our resolve to continue our operations in these difficult times with our utmost care to implement all measures to ensure the health and safety of our passengers and employees first.”

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the airport has announced a 4.7% increase in cargo operations, which was enabled by cooperation between Qatar Airways and HIA to provide essential goods and medical supplies.

Durban

On the tenth anniversary of its completion, Durban’s King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) won awards for Best Regional Airport in Africa, ‘Best Airport: 5-10 million passengers’ and Best Airport Staff in Africa.

“We are delighted to be recognised and especially proud that the awards reflect the continuing dedication and efforts of airport staff. We are still in the early stages of what is going to be an exceptionally challenging time for the entire value chain in the aviation sector,” said Airports Company South Africa CEO Mpumi Mpofu.

“These awards show that as a company we have the right approach and the right staff to deliver a safe and secure airport experience in the months ahead.”