Indian airports shine through Covid clouds, continue to win major global awards

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport once again emerged as the ‘Best Airport by Size and Region’ in Asia-Pacific for 2020

Indian airports shine through Covid clouds, continue to win major global awards
The IGI Airport in Delhi has been the recipient of many awards. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr/Ramesh NG

In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic crippling the aviation sector, Indian airports have continued to bag global air travel awards. The GMR-managed Delhi airport and five airports managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) were conferred the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards for 2020 by the Airports Council International (ACI).

Officials of the AAI said it was a matter of pride that five of their airports were adjudged as among the best airports in the world. 

The ACI-ASQ Awards highlight the world’s best airports as judged by their respective customers. Five AAI airports: Amritsar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune and Varanasi were declared as among the best in the world in the ACI-ASQ Awards for 2020. These airports won six awards in two different categories.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) once again emerged as the ‘Best Airport by Size and Region’ in Asia-Pacific for 2020. The airport bagged the awards in the category of over 40 million passengers per annum (MPPA). 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on global passenger traffic in 2020 and changed customer perceptions and expectations of the airport experience. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, airports had managed to collect ASQ surveys from their customers throughout the year and 108 awards were won by 89 individual airports around the world for the year. 

Also read: Delhi airport achieves major green landmark after Covid-mitigation feats

Based on new hygiene-related questions added to the survey questionnaire, ACI had introduced a new award: ‘Best Hygiene Measures by Region’, of which there were 33 inaugural winners. 

Kolkata airport has been one of the AAI airports to win an ACI-ASQ award. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Paul Hamilton

This award provides airports with a reliable method of gauging customer response to new health measures and recognises airports’ success in responding to the intense focus on hygiene in the wake of highly contagious Covid-19 infection. 

The new category also complements ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation programme, launched last year, which has resulted in more than 240 airports being accredited already.

1. Best Airport by Size and Region (Asia-Pacific -- 2 to 5 million passengers per year) 

Amritsar airport    
Chandigarh airport    
Varanasi airport    

2. Best Hygiene Measures by Region (Asia-Pacific)

Chandigarh airport    
Kolkata airport    
Pune airport    

This comes after the Delhi airport was adjudged in November last year the best in Asia-Pacific in terms of management of carbon emission reduction. The IGIA achieved a Level 4+ accreditation under ACI's Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. 

The Level 4+ accreditation was a culmination of the Delhi airport's long history of implementing green initiatives. In 2016, it had become the first carbon-neutral airport in the Asia-Pacific region. The GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has now set an ambitious target of becoming a net-zero carbon emission airport by 2030.

Also read: How Delhi airport is steadily winning war against Covid-19

The ASQ survey is a world-renowned and internationally-established global benchmarking programme measuring passengers’ satisfaction across 34 key performance indicators while they travel through an airport. It is conducted by the ACI, a global non-profit organisation of airport operators. 

Since its creation in 2006, the ASQ departures programme has become the world’s leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark with close to 400 airports across 95 countries participating. 

The ACI adopted a rigorous quality control process for the ASQ awards programme to ensure that the benchmarking and findings from the ASQ surveys were of the highest quality during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ACI is the only global trade representative of the world’s airports.

(Cover image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr/Ramesh NG)