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The "leaked" results of an ACI airport passenger survey cast serious doubts over the entire validity of their rating process say Skytrax



An article published by Bloomberg states that "Europe's five busiest airports rank outside the top 90 worldwide in terms of consumer satisfaction" according to the results of a "leaked" survey conducted by ACI.

This apparent "leak" of results comes just a few days after the results of the World Airport Survey were published by Skytrax, and according to Skytrax CEO, Edward Plaisted,  "demonstrates that the ACI survey programme appears to have shortcomings in either methodology or data analysis, to be so dramatically different to results we achieved from a very much larger customer interview base. ACI base their ratings on approximately 1,500 customer interviews per airport over a 12 month period, whilst in contrast, the Skytrax 9-month survey delivered 190,000 completed passenger interviews for Singapore Changi Airport alone."

Some sample rating comparisons shown below point to customer satisfaction discrepancies that Skytrax say are beyond belief, and call into question the ACI survey process - more so if results are to be "leaked" in this manner. Skytrax have been conducting passenger surveys for over 20 years, and have enough experience to know that results can reflect how, when and what questions are asked, but these levels of discrepancy are not acceptable or believable.

"Skytrax do not charge airports to be included in what is an independent and impartial survey, while airports have to pay an annual fee to be featured in the ACI study. If I was an airport operator, I would not be happy to see this dramatic and rather nonsensical difference in airport ratings" added Plaisted. "In the normal pattern of events, we tend to ignore ACI ratings and their self-nominated Airport Awards, but the highlighted results are so unbelievable that we felt duty bound to respond."

Most in the industry (and more experienced travellers) accept that a few of the Asian airports remain top performers for customer satisfaction, but also have enough knowledge to understand that such low global ratings being applied to airports such as Schiphol, Madrid or Auckland does not reflect a believable or authoritative approach to customer surveys.

Producing a ranking list of Best Airports that features Al Ain Airport 4th in the world, seems to make a mockery of more accurate ratings produced for the airport industry. "Here we have an airport such as Al Ain (handling about 4,000 passenger a month) ranked 89 positions higher than Amsterdam Schiphol, an airport that handles 2.5 million passengers a month. To provide a side-by-side comparative rating on such contrasts is misleading and insulting to airport operators and the travelling public" said Peter Miller of Skytrax.

 

AIRPORT

SKYTRAX RANKING  (out of 240 airports)

ACI RANKING  (out of 216 airports)

Amsterdam Schiphol

6

 

93

 

London Heathrow

16

 

99

 

Frankfurt

20

 

126

 

Auckland

8

 

63

 

Sydney

40

 

67

 

London Stansted

47

 

111

 

Denver

45

 

67

 



Suggesting the ACI survey is a benchmarking programme is another anomaly say Skytrax.  An accurate benchmark system must utilise a unified and global approach.  Taking say 1,500 survey interviews with predominantly Indian customers at Hyderabad Airport and seeking to create benchmarks by comparing results  to 1,500 interviews with US customers at Atlanta Hartsfield, or 1,500 interviews with Chinese customers at Shanghai Hongqiao airports is misleading, and will always result in a distorted result.

The true definition of Benchmark is to measure performance relative to another, in an impartial and scientific manner. That could never occur through a small-scale customer survey, unless one can guarantee that the same customers can be questioned at every airport covered around the world.

"Skytrax introduced the Airport Star Ranking some years ago, specifically to address the need for a unified, accurate and believable global rating system of airport product and service quality standards" says Edward Plaisted. "This Star Ranking and benchmarking of airports looks at more than 800 different key performance indicators per airport, and prime importance is that all rating is carried out by our own, professional audit staff. This guarantees that every airport across the world is assessed in a 100% identical format - the same quality measurement, the same rating criteria, the same level of investigation and final analysis. To try and use a mixed customer survey audience throughout the world might offer a snapshot tool, but to pretend it can represent accurate benchmarking is perplexing, inaccurate and frankly very misleading."


  2012 Skytrax World Airport Awards











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