Brussels tops ranking of Europe’s most passenger-friendly airports
Which European airport is the most passenger-friendly? The Consumer Choice Center organisation recently published its first European Airport Index, attributing a score to Europe’s 30 largest airports (by passenger volume) based on facilities available, ease of access, the number of destinations and airlines they cater to, flight punctuality, range of shopping options and number of passenger lounges. Top of the table was Brussels airport, followed by Zurich and Düsseldorf, ahead of Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez - Barajas airport, Manchester, Copenhagen, Amsterdam Schiphol and Stockholm Arlanda. In joint-ninth place, Frankfurt am Main and Munich airports.
“Points were awarded to airports which offer first-rate destinations worldwide, as well as a healthy blend of stores, restaurants and airport facilities,” said the Consumer Choice Center (CCC). The international consumer representation body, with staff members in the USA, Canada, Brazil and the EU, also created a ranking based on the ratio between an airport’s number of stores and restaurants and the number of passengers flying through it.
Zurich airport was the best in this respect, with 171,897 passengers per store/restaurant. Madrid's Adolfo Suárez airport wasn’t far behind, with 177,881 passengers per store/restaurant, followed by Munich with 192,723. Fourth came Paris Orly with 207,004 passengers per store/restaurant, ahead of Amsterdam Schiphol with 227,006.
“Interestingly, nine of the top 10 [airports] were in northern Europe, with Madrid-Barajas as the lone exception,” said CCC, indicating also that no airport in Eastern Europe managed to reach the top 10, and adding that “the three best-ranked airports have an annual passenger volume between 25 and 32 million passengers, barely one third of Europe's largest airports, London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle, neither of which managed to make the top 10 in [CCC’s] ranking.”
Travel retail in Europe reportedly generates an annual revenue of nearly €20 billion. By 2023, the travel retail market worldwide is forecast to be worth €115 billion, according to Allied Market Research. A prospect which is encouraging airport companies to gradually modernise their terminals to cater for this growth in commercial activity, in turn driven by the spurt in traveller population brought about by low-cost flights.
Airports have become so similar to traditional shopping malls that, like the leading retail developers, in the last two years they have been paying special attention to boosting their catering options, introducing a range of restaurants and bars in different market segments.
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