Aviation leaders gather at the premier global event on airport experience

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Airports Council International (ACI) World kicked off the annual ACI Customer Experience Global Summit in Krakow, Poland, under the theme “Re/humanizing the airport experience.”

The ACI Customer Experience Global Summit is the premier global event on airport experience and attracts more than 400 senior airport executives, civil aviation authority representatives, airport specialists, and related business executives. This year it included keynote speaker Steven Van Belleghem, a global thought leader and international best-selling author in the field of Customer Experience.

Delegates were welcomed by ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Host and President of the Board of Krakow Airport Radosław Włoszek, as well as the Polish Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk and Secretary of State, Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy Marcin Horała.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira spoke on the interconnectedness of customer experience within the airport complex, how the pandemic has affected consumer behaviour, and the importance of effective management tools:

“While the pandemic has had the effect of accelerating the digitalization and implementation of touchless processes within airports, great customer and employee experience depends on the human factor. Evolving customer experience excellence is the outcome of the work of many different stakeholders and technologies deployed within the airport complex.

This truly highlights the importance of resources that can help airports retain and strengthen their competitive advantage, such as the ACI Airport Customer Experience Accreditation program that provides a 360-degree view of customer experience management. I would like to thank our host Krakow Airport, a leader in customer experience, for graciously hosting delegates under one roof to discuss this crucial topic that is at the heart of the airport business.”

President of the Board of Krakow Airport Radosław Włoszek said: “It is a great honour for Krakow Airport – the largest regional airport in Poland – to host the fourth edition of the ACI Customer Experience Global Summit. Krakow Airport has always focused on safety, quality, and high standards of services.

Recent years have shown the importance of these priorities and airports’ quick response to changing circumstances. Providing the best customer experience is at the core of Krakow Airport’s daily activities and its commitment to the well-being of its passengers and employees has been acknowledged by numerous industry initiatives including the ACI Airport Health Accreditation program, ACI Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards, and the ACI Voice of the Customer recognition.”

Travel technology company Amadeus – a key ally in the improvement of the customer journey – is sponsoring the prestigious ASQ Awards and Customer Experience Accreditation Ceremony during the Gala Dinner (supported by Krakow Airport) taking place at the Polish Aviation Museum. ACI World’s annual ASQ Awards recognize airport excellence in customer experience worldwide based on data from ASQ’s renowned Departures and Arrivals surveys. Launched in 2006, ASQ is the world’s leading airport passenger satisfaction program with close to 350 participating airports in 95 countries. 

Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation program
In support of ACI’s advocacy for a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible air transport system for all, the organization has today launched the first-of-its-kind Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation program. The program provides a continuous path of improvement for airports in the area of accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

The accreditation is designed to help airports measure, evaluate, and improve their accessibility management and culture. Developed by ACI with inputs from airport members, industry partners, and accessibility advocacy groups such as Universal Access, the Rick Hansen Foundation, Mima Group, Easy Travel Seat, and Customer Centric Consulting, the program is based on existing international best practices and recommendations, including those put forward in the ACI Airport and Persons with Disability Handbook.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “Up to 15% of the world’s population has a disability. Airports need to be ready for the increase of elderly passengers with reduced mobility and travellers with visible and nonvisible disabilities. As such, ACI and our industry partners are making accessibility a priority in different ways from advocacy to guidance. The new Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation program provides our members with an initiation into the path of continuous accessibility improvement at airports. We are pleased to have received input from accessibility advocacy groups as we work towards the common goal of improving accessibility. We also thank the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for their support of the program.”

Rick Hansen Foundation Chief Executive Officer Doramy Ehling said: “With our rapidly aging population and the increasing number of people with varying disabilities, improving accessibility in our communities is more important than ever. Congratulations to ACI on their commitment to improved accessibility for people of all ages and abilities. Ensuring airports around the world are formally appraised through programs such as Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification, and that Universal Design principles are considered in their design and infrastructure, will create a more inclusive future for everyone, everywhere.”

Universal Access Chief Executive Officer Paudie Healy said: “We would like to congratulate ACI in delivering strong leadership globally with the launch of the new Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation program developed with their members. Airports can now begin to drive lasting change in equitable customer experiences for all their customers of all ages and abilities and especially for the 1.3 billion people around the world, living with a disability. Inclusive airports ensure that no one is left behind”.

ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar said: “Accessibility enhancement is an important priority for international air transport, and this new ACI program fully aligns with current ICAO policy relating to the transport of persons with reduced mobility. This is a very timely development given that five new ICAO standards on accessibility will become applicable in November of this year, in addition to ongoing work on new accessibility guidance being developed by our Facilitation Panel. I wish to congratulate ACI on the very inclusive approach it has taken in developing this essential new accreditation for world airports.”

Devendra Grover
Devender was born in the year when the Beatles Group was formed. He holds two master’s degrees in English Literature and Public Administration. He also has an Honors degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. He ventured into business, forming his own Media House, Profiles Media Network Private Limited, a twenty-year-old company. Excelling as an editor, Marketing, PR, Anchor, and Advertising specialist, he is now expertly navigating the world of social media. A widely traveled professional internationally, Devender has a deep understanding of Travel and Tourism, Fashion and Lifestyle, Aviation, and Hospitality Industry. Connect with Devender Grover @ [email protected]