Incheon International Airport, South Korea’s main transportation hub, on Tuesday won the 2014 Airport Service Quality Awards of Airport Council International, one of the industry’s top honors, for the ninth consecutive year.
The award ceremony was held in Seoul on the sidelines of the ACI General Assembly that kicked off on Monday. This marked the first time the annual event was hosted by Korea.
Incheon Airport earned the highest score in service quality based on a global survey of some 350,000 airport users over the past year.
The airport also topped two subcategories ― best airport in the Asia-Pacific and best mid- to large-size airport with 23 million-40 million users.
Transport Minister Seo Seoung-hwan speaks during the opening ceremony of the General Assembly of Airport Council International at Coex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, Tuesday. (Incheon International Airport)
“Winning the award for nine straight years is a milestone for us. This was possible thanks to strong support from the government and all 40,000 workers at the airport,” said Choi Hong-yeol, the airport’s acting president.
The ACI, established in 1991, is a nonprofit association of some 1,800 global airport operators and aims to strengthen airport operation and management, and set related global standards.
The Seoul meeting, with some 1,000 aviation leaders in attendance, also hosted the ACI World and Asia-Pacific assemblies, which are usually held separately in different cities.
Following academic conferences held on Monday, the two-day regular program started on Tuesday under the theme of “Serving the Customer and the Community.”
“I hope that future visions for the development of the global aviation industry will be suggested and discussed during the event,” said Korea’s Transport Minister Seo Seoung-hwan.
In his keynote speech, Olumuyiwa Benard, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization, urged airports to join hands to more effectively respond to issues concerning safety and surging air traffic.
The ACI general meeting will be held in Panama next year.
Located some 70 kilometers west of Seoul, Incheon Airport opened in 2001. Connecting 182 cities in 56 countries, the airport now serves more than 41 million passengers annually.
According to the airport, the departure process at Incheon takes only 19 minutes, while the arrival procedures take just 12 minutes well below the global standards of 60 and 45 minutes, respectively.
What further sets the Korean airport apart from others is its regular cultural programs, several art museums, culture centers and some 5,000 traditional art performances every year.
In September, the airport started construction on its second passenger terminal as part of a 4.9 trillion won ($4.5 billion) expansion plan, including new railways, roads and a second traffic center by 2017.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)