The winners of the 16th Annual ACI EUROPE Best Airport Awards were announced yesterday during the 30th ACI EUROPE Annual Congress & Assembly1, which was live streamed from the Skyhall at Brussels Airport.
The ACI EUROPE Awards² recognise excellence and outstanding achievement across a whole range of activities. They cover 5 traffic categories of airport, including the brand-new ‘over 40 million passenger’ category. They also include the Eco-Innovation Award, the Accessible Airport Award, the Digital Transformation Award, the HR Excellence Award and the World Business Partners Recognition Award.
This year’s judging panel for the ACI EUROPE Best Airport Awards was made of distinguished experts from the European Commission, EUROCONTROL, SESAR Joint Undertaking, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and Flight Global.
IN THE ‘UNDER 5 MILLION PASSENGERS’ CATEGORY
This year’s Award in the ‘under 5 million passenger’ category went to Torino Airport for its swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the implementation of health and safety protocols in collaboration with local authorities to maintain operational continuity. In particular, the airport was praised for the rapid introduction of body temperature screening, testing of passengers coming from areas severely affected by COVID-19 and the use of innovative technologies to ensure a touchless and safe passenger experience.
The judges were impressed by the airport’s strong community support, helping those in need. The judges also valued the airport’s intensive staff training, and insurance policy for employees infected by COVID-19.
Cork Airport was highly commended in this category.
IN THE ‘5-10 MILLION PASSENGERS’ CATEGORY
The winner of the ‘5-10 million passenger’ category was Malta International Airport. The airport secured the Award for its work on the creation of a contactless and safe passenger experience with the extensive use of partition walls and auto alerts to a dedicated Airport Care Team when passengers are not socially distancing. The judges also highlighted the airport’s excellent online engagement with passengers and the incorporation of passenger feedback, enabling health and safety measures to be prioritised around passenger concerns. The airport’s strong focus on staff wellbeing was noteworthy, including the work from home policy, regular temperature checks at the workplace, free health insurance and an annual wellbeing allowance.
Larnaka Airport was highly commended in this category.
‘10-25 MILLION PASSENGERS’ CATEGORY
This year’s Award in the ‘10-25 million passenger’ category went to Hamburg Airport. The airport was singled out for its array of initiatives and innovations, in particular its "Notam for you" website and dedicated podcasts as a smart and engaging way to communicate with staff during remote working. The airport was noted for its continued work towards aviation decarbonisation. This includes the airport’s participation in the "KEROSyN100" initiative on synthetic fuel and the implementation of the "follow the greens" SESAR solution with safety and quantified environmental benefits.
The airport also won praise from the judges for its focus on passenger needs with the implementation of measures that promote a contactless and safe passenger experience, including the establishment of two COVID-19 test centres offering free tests to passengers arriving from high-risk areas.
Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport was highly commended in this category.
’25-40 MILLION PASSENGERS’ CATEGORY
The winner of the ’25-40 million passengers’ category was Lisbon Airport. The judges considered that the airport excels in ensuring a contactless and safe passenger experience, namely with the rollout of the ‘Biometrics on the move’ project and the introduction of advanced UV disinfection technology. The airport’s strategy of leveraging team skills to foster innovation, in partnership with Portuguese universities, was another factor in recognition. The airport was also praised for using passenger feedback to continue to improve the safety and health measures in place.
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport was highly commended in this category.
‘OVER 40 MILLION PASSENGERS’ CATEGORY
This year’s Award in the ‘over 40 million passenger’ category went to Aeroporti di Roma S.p.a. in recognition of its comprehensive health and safety measures to restore passenger confidence and its strong stakeholder and community engagement. Aeroporti di Roma’s leadership in managing the COVID-19 crisis was underlined by the judges, in particular the drive-in antigen test centre at Rome Fiumicino Airport and the use of new technologies such as automated sanitation and the ‘’smart helmet’’ to monitor passengers’ body temperature via thermal radiation.
Istanbul Airport was highly commended for this Award.
The Eco-Innovation Award specifically recognises airports’ outstanding environmental performance, in particular innovative approaches to environmental management. This year, entries were required to provide details of an innovative project in one of the following three environmental disciplines: Climate Change, Local Air Quality, Water and Waste Water Management. The jury for this Award comprised members of the independent Advisory Board of the global carbon management programme, Airport Carbon Accreditation.
This year’s Eco-Innovation Award went to Budapest Airport (currently accredited at Level 3+ Neutrality within Airport Carbon Accreditation), which had applied under the discipline of Climate Change. The airport was commended for a strong focus on enhancing e-mobility with partner companies and travelling public/employees, leading to emissions reductions both land and airside. It was also recognised for the leadership and commitment shown by airport staff, with a high consistency in delivery.
ACCESSIBLE AIRPORT AWARD
As part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by ACI EUROPE and the European Disability Forum (EDF) in 2016, the Accessible Airport Award honours the best airport in Europe in terms of its level of accessibility as well as the range and the quality of the assistance services offered. It is also intended to encourage other airports to continue their work on removing the barriers that people with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (PRM) can still face when travelling by air.
The judging panel for the Accessible Airport Award comprised EDF Executive Committee Members and Mr Andras Mogyoro, Legal Officer at Social Affairs Unit, Passengers Rights & Equal Opportunities at DG MOVE, European Commission.
This year’s Accessible Airport Award went to Copenhagen Airport. The judges were impressed by the efforts made by Copenhagen Airport towards accessibility and inclusive services in a particularly difficult time for the industry. The judges praised the airport’s high-quality facilities and services, including an interactive PRM-friendly wayfinder, e-gates and check-in desks for PRMs and good public transport connection with close proximity to the entrance of the airport, enabling PRMs to be assisted from the railway platform to the airport. The judges cited the airport’s website as an effective communication channel with clear information and the possibility to make a complaint if the rights of persons with disabilities are not respected. The airport was also honoured for its regular and extensive staff training on PRM, which is provided not only to those that have to get such training according to Regulation 1107/2006, but to anyone working at the airport, from sales people to security personnel.
Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport was highly commended for this Award.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AWARD
ACI EUROPE has partnered with the SESAR Joint Undertaking to launch the Digital Transformation Award. This Award recognises a European airport that has embraced digitalisation, adopting innovative technologies and procedures to improve the safety, capacity, efficiency and environmental footprint of its airside operations.
The Digital Transformation Award went to Istanbul Airport. The judges considered that the airport has adopted a clear digitalisation strategy with a wide range of SESAR and other technological solutions in place to create a seamless travel experience and modernise airside operations in line with the vision of a digital airport and a digital European sky. Amongst the digital solutions highlighted by the judges were the data centre approach for all its IT services and the blockchain platform enabling information flow between the airport and its stakeholders.
HR EXCELLENCE AWARD
The ACI EUROPE HR Excellence Award recognises airports who have demonstrated excellent leadership and human resources management in times of COVID-19 by putting in place strategies for bringing employees back to work with innovative solutions focused on communication, safety and psychological aspects. The jury comprised the Chairs of the regional working groups in charge of Leadership and HR.
This year’s HR Excellence Award went to Malta International Airport. The airport was honoured for its comprehensive employee-centric approach based on promoting information sharing, providing a safe working environment and ensuring employee wellbeing (physical and mental). The judges underlined the airport’s special focus on staff feedback and staff training, including a dedicated e-training platform, and its employee recognition and retention strategy. The support provided by the Airport Care Team and the measures taken to ensure a safe return to the workplace were also valued.
WORLD BUSINESS PARTNER RECOGNITION AWARD
The World Business Partner Recognition Award went to To70 B.V., an ACI EUROPE member since 2015. To70 B.V. has played an active role in several ACI EUROPE Committees, providing a wealth of expertise to the airport community and greatly contributing to knowledge exchange within the aviation industry with their technical studies and practical examples. To70 B.V. has also provided significant input to the ACI EUROPE’s “Off the Ground’’ Recovery Plan, which has benefitted airports across Europe. Its strong support and commitment both to the ACI EUROPE World Business Partners programme and to the organisation of a series of ACI EUROPE World Business Partners webinars were also praised.