By Peter Miller, Skytrax
COVID-19 has resulted in a new airport experience for travellers
Skytrax have confirmed that the date for the 2021 World Airport Awards to honour the World’s Best Airports is to be announced shortly.
Whilst airport customer numbers plummeted worldwide during the past year, the 2021 Awards will include recognition of the many efforts by airports to improve health, hygiene and safety standards during COVID-19.
The annual airport customer survey for the Passenger’s Choice Awards has been operating for many months already, and as expected many travellers are voting for their favourite / best airport based on their pre-pandemic travel experiences. Within the nominations to date, Skytrax have however noted that many are from customers who have experienced the “COVID-19 Airport Experience” in the past 12 months, and this provides a fascinating platform from which to include some specific 2021 Airport Awards based on COVID-19 travel.
The past year has been the most challenging and financially difficult period ever experienced by the world air transport industry, and despite dwindling customer numbers, airports have had to invest in creating the safest possible travel environment for customers during the global pandemic.
While vaccination programmes are now moving quickly in some regions, the global inconsistency of vaccine rollouts mean that measures undertaken to reduce the spread of coronavirus across the air travel industry are likely to remain in place for at least another 18 months.
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “Looking ahead to any large scale recovery in air travel, customers are only as safe as the weakest link in the travel chain in respect to COVID-19, and it is critical for airports to provide robust, consistent, and enforceable measures to ensure the well-being of customers and staff. As we move towards Spring of 2021, there are some green shoots of recovery from this global pandemic beginning to show through, and whilst the past year has not been a time of celebration, we hope that airports may build further hope and encouragement from our 2021 World Airport Awards.”
The World Airport Awards began in 1999, and are regarded as a quality benchmark for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities across over 550 airports.