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The new Terminal 2 building at Dublin Airport PA Images/Peter Morrison
Airport league

Dublin Airport defends low ranking in international airport survey

Confidential report shows Ireland’s main airport ranks 98th out of 146 international air hubs – but DAA says it compares well with its peer airports in Europe.


THE DAA HAS said that Dublin Airport has “dramatically improved its position” in studies of international airports, although figures leaked today show that it is ranked 98th in a global survey.

The London Times (subscription needed) published figures from a confidential report from the trade body Airports Council International. The survey of passengers in principal airports worldwide shows that Dublin Airport is ranked 98th out of 146 international airports. It is one place ahead of London Heathrow but behind airports in Calcutta, Johannesbourg and Athens.

A Dublin Airport Authority spokesperson told said that Dublin Airport doesn’t pitch itself at the ‘A’ level of infrastructural comfort and space that some of the Asian airports do. He said:

We benchmark ourselves against our peers, which are large European airports, often in capital cities, IATA LOC C is the standard in more of these airports.

The spokesperson added that the levels of service standard related “purely to the design of the physical infrastructure – they do not relate to customer service levels.”

The survey is what is known as an ASQ – or Airport Quality Data. It is not meant to be released publicly and is designed to provide benchmarking information for airports. A Dublin Airport Authority spokesperson told that it was important to determine if like was being compared with like.

The ASQ, for example, ranks Humberside – a small regional airport in England – at number nine. That airport sees around half a million passengers a year. In 2010, Dublin Airport dealt with 18.4m passengers and that figure was down an estimated 730,000 because of flight disruptions during severe winter weather and the volcanic ash crisis.

A spokesperson from the DAA said:

It is important in any benchmarking study to compare like with like.

When benchmarked against European airports that handle between 5 and 25 million passengers per annum, Dublin Airport comes eighth out of 25 in the most recent study.

Dublin has dramatically improved its position relative to its peers over the past few years due in part to the huge improvements that we have made in facilities at the airport that have transformed the passenger experience.

Dublin was eighth in the out of 25 in the most recent study carried out in the fourth quarter of 2010, but was 24th out of 25 in the third quarter of 2006.

The survey questions passengers on a wide range of issues from perceived friendliness of staff and cleanliness of toilets to operational issues.

The London Times says the top three airports in the ASQ rankings are, in this order, Singapore Changi, Incheon Seoul and Hong Kong International. Dublin Aiport comes in at No.98 just one rank ahead of London Heathrow, and also ahead of Gatwick (106), Stansted (109), Madrid (117), Frankfurt (126) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (137).

However, a DAA spokesperson said that Dublin Airport “does not set out to match airports that are designed to IATA level of service A, such as Changi in Singapore”. He added:

We benchmark ourselves against our peers, which are large European airports, often in capital cities. IATA LOS C is the standard in most of these airports and that is our core benchmark.

Terminal 2 was designed to IATA level of service C. Changi is designed to level of service A, while Terminal 5 in Heathrow is level of service B. Like Dublin, Gatwick is a level of service C airport.

The DAA also says that the leaked report is from the second quarter of 2010, before Terminal 2 opened.

We are hopeful that our benchmark scores will improve further in the coming months, as Terminal 2 opened in November and is now handling about 40 per cent of Dublin Airport’s traffic.

The IATA level of service grades are as follows: A= Excellent, B = High, C = Good, D = Adequate, E = Inadequate, F = Unacceptable.

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