By Victoria Mullen
You probably don’t give it a second thought—until you need it, that is. Nonetheless, it bustles about its business, transporting travelers to and from myriad destinations with first-class services and amenities. Over the years, it has been revamped, remodeled and reconstructed. Today, it bears absolutely no resemblance to its humble beginnings.
All these improvements have not gone unnoticed—or unrecognized—in an industry that’s fraught with cut-throat competition.
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) has achieved the first-place ranking in the “Best Airports by Size and Region-North America” (2-5 million passengers per year) category, and tied for second place ranking in the “Best Airport by Region – North America” (all airports over two million passengers per year) category as a part of ACI’s 2015 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. These awards are granted by the Airports Council International (ACI) each year.
Maybe you don’t think it’s any big deal, but it really is. The ACI ASQ program is unique as the airport industry’s only global bench-marking program measuring passenger satisfaction in real time while passengers are at the airport. Implemented at over 300 airports worldwide, the ASQ Program delivers an in-depth assessment of the quality of the customer service experience, covering 34 key service areas such as access, parking, check-in, security, airport facilities, food and beverage, and more.ervice areas such as access, parking, check-in, security, airport facilities, food and beverage, and more.
“Customer service is a top priority for our entire team at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and we are thrilled to be recognized as the top performer of our size in North America,” said GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks. “We’re dedicated to ensuring continued progress in this area as we make significant investments in personnel, services, and facilities focused on providing a first-class experience from the vehicle curb to the aircraft gate. We are working to improve the passenger experience every day, and this award reflects that effort.”
“We see ever-greater competition among airports, and with it increasing pressure to optimize performance across the operation, especially when it comes to the passenger experience,” said ACI Director General, Angela Gittens. About GIF’s high marks, she said, “Your airport’s results in the 2015 ASQ Survey demonstrate your professionalism, commitment, and success in delivering that high level of customer service. Your airport is a credit to our industry and I thank you and your team for this splendid achievement.”
GFIA has continued to improve the customer experience from adding concession updates, complimentary, faster Wi-Fi, airport ambassadors, a therapy dog program, updated parking and valet services, new skycap services, and more. The airport has recently commenced its $45 million Gateway Transformation Project to consolidate security screening, update restrooms, new flooring, lighting, business centers, retail and food and beverage space.
“We are thankful for all of the tenants and stakeholders who are the front-line service providers behind this award,” said Ryks. “From the airlines to our parking services, law enforcement, and curb front security, to TSA and airport ambassadors – they do a tremendous job day-in and day-out to ensure the passengers have a quality experience at our airport. We are planning a celebration to thank and recognize these employees for their efforts.”
So, next time you visit GFIA, tip your hat–or mittens–to the men and women who strive to provide us with the best possible service.