Airports Council International (ACI) World has changed its Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards to reflect the changing landscape in customer experience introduced in response to COVID-19. The impact and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the global airport industry to a standstill with an estimated reduction in passenger traffic of 5.6 billion by year’s end. As airports begin to restart operations, understanding the changing needs and expectations of passengers will be crucial in reassuring them that their health and safety remain the top priority. The pandemic’s effects vary significantly between regions therefore ACI has adapted its global ASQ programme for the collection and measurement of data this year which informs the awards to be presented in 2021.
ACI has amended some categories and temporarily removed the following awards: Most Improved, Best Airport Customer Service, Best Airport Environment and Ambiance, Best Airport Infrastructure and Facilitation, and the Arrivals Award. The Best Airports by Region and Size will remain. A new category will be introduced – called the Hygiene Award – which will be based on the score of three new safety and hygiene questions that will be added to the tablet version of the ASQ Departure Survey in the fourth quarter of this year.
“As airports around the world begin to restart, it is clear that the health and welfare of travellers, staff, and the public will be of primary importance in fostering confidence in air travel,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers are demanding new services and procedures based on their specific needs, requirements, and concerns and airports are seeking to adapt their infrastructure, adopt new technology, and streamline their processes to best match what customers want. The new ASQ Awards will recognise those airports that best listen to their customers and respond in a way that meets their changing expectations to provide a hygienic and safe airport environment.”
ACI is also introducing a new form of recognition called the Voice of the Customer. The new recognition is separate to the awards and will recognise airports that demonstrate significant efforts in gathering passenger feedback to help them better understand their customers during the pandemic.