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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Two years after its opening, the new Ben-Gurion Airport has received a public stamp of approval as the most customer-friendly airport in Europe in a new survey based on passenger feedback at 77 airports around the globe.
Making its debut in the International Airport Council's (ACI) "Airport Service Quality" survey, Tel Aviv was graded the highest among 40 participating European airports by both business and leisure passengers for the third quarter of 2006.
"The survey speaks for itself and is the result of the massive investment in infrastructure and services, particularly at Terminal-3 over the last few years," said Gabi Ophir, CEO of the Israel Airports Authority. "We see the airport as a display window for Israel and I am happy that the world sees us in a positive way. The survey showed that Terminal-3 is an airport of the highest level, comparable to any around the world in any parameter."
The survey, prepared by aviation researchers DKMA for the ACI, asked 350 passengers to rate their satisfaction at the various airports on a scale of one to five for 34 different service experiences.
Among the European airports, Ben-Gurion received the highest average rating in 17 of the categories, coming in second in another seven. The overall ratings placed Tel Aviv eighth out of the 77 participating airports around the world.
The accolade comes two years after the inauguration of Terminal-3 at Ben-Gurion Airport, which replaced Terminal-1 as Israel's main international thoroughfare at a $1 billion investment. It will be a welcome boost to the airport's image, which was plagued this quarter by labor disputes which led to Ben-Gurion being closed for a day and further baggage delays causing widespread passenger frustration.
Instead, for the third quarter, Ben-Gurion Airport scored 4.18, out of a maximum five, for overall satisfaction and over four on 17 other categories.
Its best ranking of third on the overall list came in the computer / telecommunications / e-facilities category despite receiving just 3.88 on the passenger score card. The airport received it highest score of 4.42 for its cleanliness, and was also lauded for its washroom facilities, flight information screens, baggage cart availability and the value for money provided at its shopping facilities.
Echoing the most infamous complaint at the airport over the last two years, Terminal-3's worst score of 3.19 came for "walking distance" in which it ranked in 64th position in the overall standings. Other negative feedback came for the security waiting time, ground transportation to the airport, business lounges and the value for money at restaurants in the terminal.
Topping the global rankings for the quarter was Seoul Incheon International with an average rating of 4.61 from passengers, followed by Kuala Lampur International (4.49), Hong Kong International (4.46), Singapore Changi Airport (4.40) and Dallas/Fort Worth International (4.28) completing the top five.
Tel Aviv placed second in the grouping of airports which carry between five and 15 million passengers per year behind Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport in Japan. It is forecast to have carried approximately 8.5 million passengers in 2006, the same amount as last year and can handle up to 16 million.